Two large commercial projects helped push Fort Smith building permit values in September to levels more than double what they were during the same month in 2012.
The city of Fort Smith issued a total of $49.976 million in building permits last month, which included a $26.2 million permit tied to the new Mercy Orthopedic Hospital at 79th Street and Phoenix Avenue and a $6.35 million permit for the relocation of Smith Chevrolet from Zero and Towson to 6500 Autopark Drive, along Interstate 540, adjacent to the car dealer's Nissan dealership.
Collectively, permits in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren totaled $51.494 million. That is an increase of 125.63% increase from the same month last year, when all three cities only saw $22.822 million in permits issued.
Values through September 2013 for all three cities sat at $174.668 million, an increase from the same period last year of 59.31% when the three cities issued permits totaling $109.641 million collectively.
This year's permit values also beat the collective values for the first nine months of 2011 of $164.709 million, an increase of 6.04%.
During the first nine months of 2013, Fort Smith held the largest share of building permit values at $148.656 million. Greenwood and Van Buren saw substantially lower building permit values, with Greenwood only having $7.075 million in projects permitted so far this year while Van Buren permitted projects totaling $13.531 million.
The city of Fort Smith had a total of 191 permits issued in September to reach its $49.976 million value for building permits.
That value is 157.02% larger than the numbers for the same month last year, when only 177 permits were issued for a total of $19.44 million.
In addition to the large commercial projects permitted during the month, $4.721 million in permits were issued for residential construction. Of the 100 permits issued for residential construction, 13 of those permits were for new home construction totaling $3.914 million. Sixty permits were also issued for home repairs totaling $422,079 while eight permits were issued totaling $257,500 for home remodels.
New home construction was the driver of building permits in Greenwood. Of the six permits issued for a total of $739,650, three of the permits were for new home construction totaling $673,350.
The total of the permits issued is a decline 9.62% from last year, when two permits were issued for a total of $818,360.
The city of Van Buren had the largest decline year to year, with the city only posting 43 building permits for a total value of $778,500. That is a decline of 67.9% from Sept. 2012, when the city issued 34 permits worth $2.427 million.
Driving Van Buren's building permits last month were largely new duplex construction, with eight new units being approved along North 24th Street for a collective total of $425,000.
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 in 2011 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%.