July also hot for Fort Smith metro building activity

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,013 views 

July building activity in the Fort Smith metro skyrocketed, pushing year-to-date permit values up 57% compared with the same period in 2021. Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren had $88.152 million in total permit values, well ahead of the $25 million in July 2021.

The region’s year-to-date total is $287.21 million, up 57.1% compared with the $182.85 million combined value of permits issued in the metro area’s largest cities through July 2021.

Fort Smith issued 616 permits in July with a value of $82.934 million, up 327.9% from the $19.382 million value of 668 permits issued in June and a 272.2% increase from the $22.28 million in July 2021. In the first seven months of this year, Fort Smith has issued $222.916 million in building permits, up 41.5% from the $157.551 million issued through July 2022.

There were 5 permits issued for new residential construction in July with a value of $3.356 million, down 6.6% from the $3.592 million value of 20 new residential construction permits issued in June and down 12.8% from the $3.85 in new residential permits in July 2021.

There were five new commercial construction projects permitted last month with a combined value of $28.712 million, a significant increase from the $1.26 million value of one new commercial construction project issued in June and a 421% jump in value from the three new commercial construction projects with a combined value of $5.51 million issued in July 2021.

New commercial construction projects included the $12 million new Community School of the Arts (CSA) at 1101 Riverfront Drive; the $11.547 million new parking garage for Mercy Fort Smith at 7325 Rogers Ave.; a $2.2 million new Jam Mart at 6201 Grand Ave.; and a $2.53 million 45,000-square-feet warehouse at 4700 Regions Park Drive by IR2 Holdings.

Mercy began in February work on an estimated $162 million expansion of the main Fort Smith hospital. Mercy Fort Smith will expand its emergency department from 29 to 50 rooms and boost beds in the intensive care unit from 38 to 64. Additional plans include a 22-bed observation unit requiring no renovation in the former ICU space, helipad relocation that will improve the patient transport process and new gift shop and meeting room space. The work also includes 140 more parking spaces, with parking closer to the new ER entrance.

CSA broke ground March 17, 2021, on a new facility near the U.S. Marshals Museum on Riverfront Drive. The land for the new school, 11 acres north of the museum, was donated to the school by the Robbie Westphal family. Construction of the building is scheduled to be completed in summer 2023, according to Dr.  Rosilee Russell, CSA executive director.

VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD GAINS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 114 permits in July with a combined value of $4.382 million, a 222.9% increase from the $1.357 million value of 72 permits issued in June and up 200% from the $1.46 million value of 135 permits issued in July 2021.

The city issued 18 residential permits in June with a value of $4.315 million, a 332.8% increase from the $997,000 value of six residential permits issued in June and a 215% increase from the $1.37 million value of residential projects permitted in July 2021.

There was no permitted commercial activity in July as compared to $240,000 in permitted commercial activity in June and $48,500 in commercial activity permitted in July 2021. Year to date, Van Buren has $56.611 million in permitted activity, a 199.1% increase from the $18.929 million reported in the first seven months of 2021.

Greenwood issued 28 permits in July with a combined value of $836,002, down 53.5% from the $1.8 million value of five permits issued last month and down 33.65% from the $1.26 million value of 24 permits issued in July 2021. A majority of permits issued in July were for residential solar panels. Even with a slow month, Greenwood’s year-to-date total of $7.687 is 20.7% higher than the $6.37 million in permit values issued in the first seven months of 2021.

The Fort Smith region ended 2021 with $343.289 million in permitted building activity, up 29% over the $265.975 million in 2020. The Fort Smith metro has seen continuous growth over the  past several years, but no recent year has performed as well in building activity as 2021 with all three of the larger cities in the region seeing an increase in building numbers from 2020.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2021: $343.289 million
2020: $265.975 million
2019: $241.741 million
2018: $231.78 million
2017: $210.844 million
2016: $211.345 million
2015: $218.899 million
2014: $198.983 million
2013: $202.389 million
2012: $154.64 million
2011: $201.079 million