Building permit values were a combined $17.67 million in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren for the month of August, up 61.31% from the same period last year. Last month's increase also shows an uptick from July, with a 21.73% jump in combined permit values in the three cities.
For the first eight months of 2013, combined permit values totaled $124.687 million, an increase of 44.01% from the same eight month period in 2012.
The city of Fort Smith had a total of 158 permits issued last month for a total value of $16.753 million.
Of those permits issued, the most valuable permits were issued for building expansions at $5.379 million.
The largest of the expansions was a $4.279 million expansion at Umarex, a firearms manufacturer located at 7700 Chad Colley Boulevard at Chaffee Crossing. The expansion is part of a multi-phase expansion, according to Umarex President and CEO Adam Blaylock. The building permit issued in August was for phase two.
Once all three phases are complete, the more than $7 million in improvements to the Chaffee Crossing campus will allow for both Umarex and Walther Arms, the company's sister company, to be housed at the same location, Blaylock said.
Another major commercial project approved for a permit during the month of August was the softball field additions at Ben Geren Regional Park. The fields, which are being built by the city of Fort Smith and managed by Sebastian County's parks and recreation department, were issued a permit valued at $1.232 million.
In all, 35 commercial permits accounted for $11.506 million in value.
On the residential side, 93 permits were issued with a total value of $3.78 million. Of those, only nine were new construction at a value of $3.068 million while 51 repair permits valued at $277,547 were issued.
One of the residential permits issued included a new home located at 7003 Hestand Lane valued at $1.057 million. FFH Construction and Jake Files are listed as the contractors for the project.
Greenwood's construction permits were limited to three projects valued at $162,631. Of those, one was a commercial remodel or repair valued at $15,231, one was a new home valued at $121,400 while the remaining permit was for a new swimming pool, valued at $26,000.
Permits in the northern part of the Fort Smith metro area were driven by new residential construction.
The city of Van Buren issued 10 permits valued at $574,300 for new single family home construction.
The values for the city in August represent a significant increase from July, when only $251,000 in building permits was issued. In total, the month-to-month increase from July to August was 200.2%.
Combined values in the three cities during 2012 were $157.32 million, compared to $201.079 million during 2011. The 2012 value is above the $149 million in 2010, but below the $164 million during 2009.
Fort Smith closed 2012 with the largest share of valuations, logging $136.428 million (a one-year decline from $179.288 million of about 23.9%), while Van Buren was the next largest with $12.282 million (a one-year decrease from $12.39 million of approximately 0.87%). Greenwood posted an additional $8.609 million, which was down slightly from last year’s $9.461 million (down about 9%).
The 2012 figures were compared against a $28.5 million permit for the construction of a Mitsubishi wind-turbine assembly plant at Chaffee Crossing. The plant has been mothballed by the company. Even without that permit, the Fort Smith metro area lagged when compared to 2011 showing a decrease of around 8.8%.