Building permit values down 65% in the Fort Smith metro through March

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 943 views 

Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren reported a combined total value of $22.603 million of building permits issued in the three cities in March. While that is up 92% from the $11.769 million in February, it’s down 62.7% from the $60.633 million in March 2023.

Year-to-date the region has issued permits for building activity valued at $47.529 million, 65.3% less than the $136.894 million in the first quarter of 2023.

Fort Smith issued 290 permits in March with a value of $21.988 million, up 116% from the 206 permits with a value of $10.179 million issued in February, but down 62% from the $57.795 million value of 327 permits issued in March of last year. Year-to-date Fort Smith has reported $41.449 million in building projects, down 72.8% from the $152.237 million reported in the first quarter of 2023.

There were 13 permits issued for new residential construction in March with a value of $2.483 million, up 24% from the $2 million value of 11 new residential construction projects permitted in February and down 47.9% from the $4.77 million value of 14 new residential construction projects permitted in March 2023.

New commercial construction was down 11.7% compared to the $1.7 million value of two new commercial projects permitted in February and down 57% from the $3.5 million value of one new commercial construction project in March 2023.

There were two other major commercial projects permitted in March. Georgia Pacific received an “other” permit March 4 for the $5.134 million truck parking lot project at 4411 Midland Ave. Mercy Fort Smith received a $2.038 remodel permit for 7301 Rogers Ave. on March 1. Mercy Fort Smith’s ongoing expansion of the emergency department and intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital Fort Smith began in February 2022. The $186 million-expansion that is expected to add 160 jobs at Mercy Fort Smith is on schedule and expected to be complete by April 2025.

VAN BUREN AND GREENWOOD
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, had 60 projects permitted in March with a total value of $346,500, a 75.3% decrease from the $1.402 million value of 65 projects permitted in February and a 72.7% decrease from the $1.27 million value of 64 projects permitted in March 2023.

The city issued four permits for residential construction with a value of $244,500, a 72.6% decrease from the $891,000 value of six permits for residential construction issued last month and a 79.6% decrease from the $1.2 million value of nine residential construction projects issued in March of last year.

There were no commercial projects permitted in March in Van Buren. By comparison, there were four commercial permits issued in February with a value of $511,000 and one project permitted in March 2023 with a value of $70,000.

The city has had $2.718 million in permitted activity through March, down 72.8% from the $9.986 million through March 2023.

Greenwood issued 13 permits in March with a value of $268,728, an increase of 42.7% from the $188,250 value of nine permits issued in February and an 81.7% decrease from the $1.468 million value of 26 permits issued in March 2023. In the first quarter of 2024, Greenwood issued building permits with a value of $3.009 million, up 1.6% from the $2.962 million through March of last year.

The Fort Smith metro ended 2023 with 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