A former tulip farm cements North Little Rock as a transportation hub
Dust hangs in the air at the far east end of North Little Rock, next to Amazon’s gleaming distribution center, as heavy construction equipment drives through agricultural fields to make way for the area’s future.
The former tulip farm east of Galloway on US 70 solidifies North Little Rock’s reputation as a transportation hub, building on the town’s founding as a railroad town in the 1800s The Union Pacific Railroad still operates one of the nation’s largest engine repair facilities in the city.
Transportation remains at the heart of the city’s growth, although it is now attracting warehouses and distribution facilities, which means a restructuring of the country’s supply chain logistics.
The 450-acre land will, by 2025, house three Fortune 100 companies and include 4 million square feet of facilities providing more than 3,000 jobs and representing an investment of $400 million.
“The amazing story is that this has always been just a piece of farmland,” said Robert Birch, director of economic development for the town of North Little Rock. “We will create 3,000 jobs on this 450 acre site. It shows what North Little Rock can do as a city and it supports the transportation hub we have. Amazon opened a million-square-foot fulfillment center last September, followed by Lowe’s and Dollar General with the announcement of building similar-sized facilities next to each other.
Lowe’s has begun construction on the site and plans to begin shipping high-efficiency devices and products out of the distribution center by fall 2023. Dollar General plans to begin work next year and its facility will have of a refrigerated space and is central to the company’s plans to offer products as the chain seeks to expand into fresh foods.
Just as Little Rock’s westward expansion expanded in the 1980s and 1990s with residential and commercial developments, officials in North Little Rock are hoping for a similar boost for open farmland on its eastern border. .
These warehousing and distribution facilities are already attracting investment for housing estates and the city hopes retail and other service industries will follow businesses into the Galloway area.
“What was once what everyone thought was a farmland gap between here and England is really starting to take shape as the future expansion of North Little Rock,” Birch said. “There is more land available in this area and it will continue to grow.” The transportation sector, particularly the railroads, has always been the centerpiece of North Little Rock’s development and the industry remains a magnet attracting new opportunities for growth. “We’ll have three Fortune 100 companies in this space,” Birch said. “Transportation is our roots and we’re going back to our roots in a way.”
The pandemic has forced the nation’s largest companies to re-evaluate their supply chain logistics, with many deciding to migrate more operations to a US base and diversify from an overreliance on electricity. regard to China. There is less emphasis on globalization and more on regionalization.
Management consultancy McKinsey & Co. said building regional supply chains remains a priority for most companies. Nearly 90% of survey respondents said they expect to pursue some degree of regionalization over the next three years.
North Little Rock is enjoying the movement.
“From there, you can go anywhere in the country; we’re a logical fit,” Birch said, noting that the Galloway exit off Interstate 40 is a major focal point for the trucking industry and the area also offers proximity to major rail, air and sea routes. “It makes sense to move there with the supply chain changes happening in the country.”
FIRST COMMUNITY IN CONWAY
First Community Bank will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Monday at 10 a.m. to celebrate plans for its new Conway location at 766 Harkrider St.
Batesville-based First Community operates a temporary building on the site and plans to open a full-scale banking center in the third quarter of next year.
“This banking center demonstrates First Community Bank’s continued commitment to our community and a place where we can continue to grow for years to come,” said Grant Gordy, Community Chairman at Conway, of the two-storey complex. floors which will include community amenities such as electric car charging stations, a smoothie restaurant, as well as a bike rack and workstation.
Arkansas retained Silver Shovel status for a second consecutive year.
Area Development, an economic development industry publication, presented a 2022 Silver Shovel Award to the State of Arkansas for its success in attracting new business and investment.
“This award demonstrates the strength of the economy and business climate in Arkansas,” Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said in a statement. “Arkansas is well positioned for continued economic growth over the coming year and we look forward to working with businesses looking to relocate or expand in the natural state.” Arkansas was recognized in the 3+ to 5 million population category.
Area Development said the state has been successful in the number of new jobs to be created relative to the state’s population, the dollar amount of investment attracted, the number of new facilities, and the diversity of industry represented.
The publication took particular note of US Steel’s $3 billion investment in the state, the largest capital investment in Arkansas history. The planned facility was named Manufacturing Project of the Year by the publication, which called it North America’s most advanced steelmaking initiative and will create 900 jobs in Mississippi County.
Arkansas was also highlighted for Vista Outdoor’s expansion in Lonoke, creating 450 jobs; Butterball’s expansion of two processing facilities in northwest Arkansas, creating 360 jobs; the creation of 250 jobs by Mars Petcare in Fort Smith; and Wipro is creating 400 information technology jobs at a new facility in Sherwood.
Ideas for columns or recommendations? Any thoughts or daydreams that need to be pursued? Contact me at email@example.com or 501-378-3567.