Building activity in Fort Smith dipped in September, but activity in Greenwood and Van Buren kept the metro area above where it was last year. The year-to-date permit value in the three cities is $352.604 million, up 42.6% compared with the same period in 2021.
The three cities had $36.881 million in permit values in September, up 29.3% from the $28.513 million reported in August and up 85.5% from the $19.88 million in total permit values in September 2021.
Fort Smith issued 395 permits in September with a value of $12.268 million, down 50.7% from the $24.896 million value of 491 permits issued in August, and down 23.4% from the $16.01 million value of 160 permits issued in September 2021. Even with a low month of building activity, the city is ahead of building values constructed in the first three quarters of 2021. Year-to-date, Fort Smith has issued $260.08 million in building permits, up 21% from the $214.64 million issued through September 2021.
There were five permits issued for new residential construction in September with a value of $727,240, down 64.2% from the $2.03 million value of five new residential construction permits issued in August and down 74.9% from the $2.895 million in September 2021.
No permits were issued for new construction in September. This is a dramatic decrease from both the $6.64 million value of three new commercial construction permits issued in August and the $5.3 million value of two new commercial construction projects issued in September 2021. There were 38 commercial permits issued in the month with a total value of $4.2 million.
VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD GAINS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 112 permits in September with a combined value of $21.458 million, surpassing Fort Smith’s total monthly permit values by almost 75%. Van Buren’s values for the month were 658% higher than the $2.831 value of 135 permits issued in August and 730% higher than the $2.586 million value of 88 permits issued in September 2021.
The city issued $1.093 million in residential construction permits in the month, down 42.1% from the $1.888 million in residential permits issued last month and down 37.4% from the $1.745 million in residential permits issued in September 2021.
The city got a big push in permit activity in the month from the second phase of a $100 million Simmons Foods addition to its plant at 2101 Twin Circle in Van Buren, which had a permitted value of $20.15 million in September. Company officials said the upgrade will add 100 jobs, bringing total employment at the plant to 700.
Through the first nine months of the year, Van Buren has $80.9 million in permitted activity, a 236% increase from the $24.06 million reported through the first three quarters of 2021.
Greenwood issued 27 permits in September with a combined value of $3.155 million, an increase of 301% from the $786,381 of 12 permits in August and a 146% increase from the $1.284 million value of 20 permits issued in September 2021. Of the permits issued was that for a $2.2 million warehouse for Alpha Packaging at 2020 E. Center St.
Greenwood’s year-to-date total of $11.628 million is 37.6% higher than the $8.45 million in permit values issued in the first nine 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