Fort Smith metro building activity down almost 75% in January

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 530 views 

Building activity slowed in the Fort Smith metro area in January, a month that saw extreme cold and snow and ice that closed schools and government offices. Building permit values were down almost 75%  in the three regional cities from the same time last year.

Building permits in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren totaled $12.804 million in January, down 47.3% from the $24.314 million value of permits issued in the three cities in December, and down 74.9% from the $51.09 million reported in January 2023.

Fort Smith issued 138 permits in January with a value of $9.282 million, down 60.3% from the $23.398 million value of 182 permits issued in December and down 80.1% from the $48.436 million value of 310 permits issued in the first month of 2023.

There were eight permits issued for new residential construction in January with a value of $2.752 million. This was down 7.2% from the $2.964 million value of eight new residential permits issued in December and down 7.9% from the $2.987 million value of 12 new residential permits issued in January of last year.

There was only one permit for new commercial construction in January, a new driveway and parking at 5115 Towson Ave., valued at $165,000 by RJ Prinja LLC. There were no new commercial construction projects issued in December or January 2023.

Other larger commercial projects receiving permits last month included $350,000 worth of HVAC work at 3955 Phoenix Ave., in the Pavilion for Boot Barn, $849,000 worth of construction work at Walmart at 2425 Zero St., and a $740,000 commercial remodel project at Family Dental Care of Fort Smith.

VAN BUREN AND GREENWOOD
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, had 58 projects permitted in January with a value of $969,500, up 27% from the $599,500 value of 64 permits issued in December and down 43.3% from $1.71 million value of 59 permits issued in January of last year.

The city issued three permits for residential construction with a value of $525,000, down 12.4% from the $596,500 value of seven permits for residential construction issued in December and down 45.6% from the $965,000 value of five residential projects permitted in January 2022.

There were two commercial permits issued with a value of $426,500, down 22.9% from the $553,500 value of four commercial permits issued in January of last year. There were no commercial permits issued in December.

Greenwood issued 19 permits in January with a combined value of $2.552 million, more than the $316,423 value of three permits issued by the city in December and 170% more than the $945,200 value of nine permits issued in January 2022. Of the January activity, $2.1 million was for residential work, according to Hunter Mikles, building inspector for the city.

The Fort Smith metro ended 2023 with issued building permits totaling $520.644 million, 8.4% more than the $480.376 million in 2022 – a year that saw all three cities posting significant gains. Building activity has continued to show gains in the past few years, with 2023’s total up 51.7% from 2021’s $343.289 million and 95.7% up from 2020’s $265.975 million.

REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2023: $520.644 million
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