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October building permits dip in Fort Smith area

story by Aric Mitchell
amitchell@thecitywire.com

Building permit values in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren, combined to total $12.789 million in October, a steep drop from September’s $22.822 million total and also short of the $16.656 million logged in October 2011.

The month-to-month decrease of close to 23.2% diminishes year-to-date comparisons through the first ten months of the year to a decline of 32.5%, though that is an improvement from where the decline stood at the end of August when permit values were off 43.66%.

Combined values in the three cities through October 2012 are at $122.43 million for the three cities, compared to $181.365 million during the same period of 2011.

During the first 10 months, Fort Smith claimed the largest share with $99.899 million (a one-year decline from $160.835 million of about 37.9%), while Van Buren was the next largest with $14.331 million (a one-year increase from $13.196 million of approximately 8.6%). Greenwood posted an additional $8.197 million, which was up slightly from last year’s $7.334 million (about 11.8%).

FORT SMITH
The city of Fort Smith logged 228 permits in October totaling $10.049 million, down considerably from September’s $19.444 million total, and also down for the year.

New commercial building projects claimed $4.329 million of the October total on three permits, the vast majority of which ($4.048 million) was attributed to a proposed FedEx distribution facility at 4501 Industrial Drive.

Residential construction accounted for $3.349 million with $2.268 million in the form of new home construction and $708,070 in home repairs.

GREENWOOD

New home construction dominated Greenwood’s October numbers, as it has throughout the first ten months of 2012, with 6 permits totaling $1.602 million accounting for most of the $1.784 million overall valuation (on 12 total permits). This number is an increase from October 2011’s $1.368 million total.

VAN BUREN
Van Buren remains up for the year, though the $955,000 October valuation is down considerably from October 2011’s $2.581 million total. Most of the city’s activity stemmed from commercial and government remodeling and new home construction.

2011 RECAP

Of the $181.365 million totaled through October 2011, Fort Smith logged the most with $160.835 million, thanks in large part to the Mitsubishi plant at Chaffee Crossing, which has since been mothballed by the company. That one permit, issued in January 2011, totaled $28.5 million.

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Van Buren was at second place through October 2011 with $13.196 million in valuations, beating out Greenwood, which posted just $7.334 million through the same period.

Mitsubishi continues to drag down building permit numbers for the year, causing a year-to-date decline of around 32%. Even without that permit, the Fort Smith metro area continues to lag when compared with 2011 showing a decrease of around 20%, though the deficit has improved significantly from the 30.88% decline at the end of August.

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