Construction activity in Fort Smith fell in September, but activity in Greenwood and Van Buren kept the metro area above where it was a year ago. The year-to-date value of permits in the three cities is $352.604 million, up 42.6% from the same period in 2021.
The three cities had $36.881 million in permit value in September, up 29.3% from the $28.513 million reported in August and up 85.5% from the $19.88 million in total value of permits in September 2021.
Fort Smith issued 395 permits in September worth $12.268 million, down 50.7% from the $24.896 million value of the 491 permits issued in August, and down 23.4% compared to the $16.01 million value of the 160 permits issued in September 2021. Even with a weak month of construction activity, the city is ahead of the value of buildings 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.
Five permits were issued for new residential construction in September, worth $727,240, down 64.2% from the $2.03 million value of the five new residential construction permits issued in August and down 74.9% from $2.895 million in September 2021.
No permits were issued for new construction in September. This is a dramatic decrease from the $6.64 million value of three new commercial building permits issued in August and the $5.3 million value of two new commercial building projects issued. in September 2021. There were 38 trade permits issued during the month with a total value of $4.2 million.
VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD WINS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 112 permits in September with a combined value of $21.458 million, exceeding Fort Smith’s total monthly permit value by nearly 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 building permits during the month, down 42.1% from the $1.888 million in residential permits issued last month and down 37.4% from previous $1.745 million in residential permits issued in September 2021.
The city secured a surge in permitting activity during the month thanks to the second phase of a $100 million Simmons Foods addition to its plant at 2101 Twin Circle in Van Buren, which had an authorized value of $20.15 million in September. Company officials said the upgrade will create 100 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs at the plant to 700.
In the first nine months of the year, Van Buren has $80.9 million in authorized business, a 236% increase from the $24.06 million reported in the first three quarters of 2021.
Greenwood issued 27 permits in September with a combined value of $3.155 million, a 301% increase 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. Among 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 area ended 2021 with $343.289 million in authorized construction activity, up 29% from $265.975 million in 2020. Fort Smith Metro has seen continued growth in recent years , but no recent year has been as strong in construction activity as 2021, with the three largest cities in the region seeing an increase in the number of buildings from 2020.
SUMMARY OF REGIONAL CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES
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