Construction slowed in the Fort Smith metro area in July but year-to-date numbers are still much higher than those in 2022. Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren combined for $26.564 million in July permit values, down 69.9% from the $88.152 million in July 2022.
The combined July tally was down 71.1% from the $91.877 million reported in June.
In the first seven months of the year, the region has issued building permits valued at $373.475 million, up 30% compared to the $287.21 million reported through July 2022.
Fort Smith issued 436 permits in July with a combined value of $21.505 million, down 76% from the $89.996 million value of 777 permits issued in June and down 74% from the $82.934 million value of 616 permits issued in July 2022. Year-to-date, Fort Smith has reported $349.301 million in building projects, up 56.7% from the $222.916 million reported through July 2022.
There were nine permits issued for new residential construction in the month with a value of $1.682 million, down 81% from the $8.851 million value of 39 permits issued in June and down 49.9% from the $3.356 million value of five permits issued for new residential construction in July 2022.
There were three permits issued for new commercial construction projects in July with a combined value of $3.4 million, down 60.9% from the $8.685 million value of two commercial construction projects permitted last month and down 88% from the $28.713 million value of five new commercial construction projects permitted in July 2022.
The new commercial construction included a $3 million new retail shopping center project at 4510 Phoenix Ave., by SKALA Investments of Little Rock. This joins the $3 million new retail shopping center the company received a building permit in June at 4520 Phoenix Ave. A $200,000 new commercial construction project for a warehouse at 900 S. Atlanta St. by Capital Structures of Fort Smith and a $200,000 new construction for a detail shop at 4916 Towson Ave. by Scott and Renee Durham also received permits in July.
Along with the new commercial construction in the month, Landmark CPAs received a permit for a $2.4 million renovation project of its building at 3101 S. 70th St. and Walmart received an “other” permit for a $2.782 million project of its supercenter at 8301 Rogers Ave.
Covia Corp received an alteration permit for a project at its facility – formerly Norton Proppants – at 5300 Gerber Road. The work listed includes interior work and two new proposed driveways to the property, said Jimmie Deer, director of building services for the City of Fort Smith.
In September, Covia announced it will expand the manufacturing capability of its Luminex branded product line to serve increasing customer demand. Luminex, an ultra-white filler, is used in the production of engineered stone countertops for consumer use in kitchens and bathrooms, while also serving retail and industrial hard surface applications.
“We are excited to make this important investment at Fort Smith, which further enhances Covia’s portfolio of innovative products. This expansion provides our customers a domestic source of high quality ultra-white fillers to support their future business needs and is a great example of our team’s ability to drive growth in our specialty materials offering across North America,” Andrew Eich, president and chief executive officer of Covia, said at the time the expansion was announced.
VAN BUREN AND GREENWOOD
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, had 120 projects permitted in July with a value of $2.444 million, up 125.46% from the $1.084 million combined value of 175 projects in June but down 44.2% from the $4.382 million of 114 projects permitted in July 2022.
On the residential side, the city had $1.73 million in permitted building activity, up 62.7% from the $1.063 million value of residential building last month and down 59.9% from the $4.315 million in residential construction in July 2022.
There was $648,500 in permitted commercial activity in June. There was no permitted commercial activity in June or in July 2022. In the first seven months of the year, Van Buren has recorded $16.221 million in permitted activity, down 71.3% from the $56.611 million reported through July 2022, a year in which Van Buren experienced significant building growth.
Greenwood issued 17 permits in July with a combined value of $2.615 million, up 228% from the $797,188 value of six permits issued in June and 213% from the $836,002 value of 28 permits issued in July 2022.
Permitted activity included $2.2 million for grading and excavations for a new medical clinic at 420 Liberty Drive. Mercy Fort Smith broke ground on the new $7.96 million facility that will be Mercy Clinic Family Medicine – Greenwood on July 11. The new clinic is expected to be completed in 18 months, opening in late 2024. It will replace the current Mercy Clinic at 20 N. Aster St.
From January through July, Greenwood has had $7.953 million in building projects permitted, up 3.46% from the $7.687 million through July 2022.
The region ended 2022 with $480.376 million in permitted building activity, a 39.9% increase over the $343.289 million in 2021. 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 2022 with all three of the larger cities in the region seeing an increase in building numbers from 2021.
REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2022: $480.376 million
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