Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we had a chance to visit with Steve Clark, President and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. Steve has been a valuable asset to the Northwest Arkansas community for many years, and continues to set the bar for excellence in community growth and development. We are thankful for him taking time to visit with us this week, and appreciate his ongoing efforts in bettering our community.
Fayetteville has had 3 large apartment facilities open this summer with 100% occupancy rates and Fayetteville has three other large apartment facilities approved for construction to open a year from now. This growth in multi-family has been accompanied by a large number of new single family homes being developed. Additionally, a new 120 room Hilton Garden Inn with 8500 square feet of meeting space is now being built at the intersection of I-540 and Wedington. The University of Arkansas welcomed another 1,500 new students and campus enrollment reached an all time high at 25,000 students plus. Moreover, the University is initiating more than $100 million dollars in capital projects to be completed in the next 24 months. The City is building a 200 acres regional park and the Walton Arts Center announced a $20.8 million dollar expansion to its existing facility to be commenced in 2014. Finally, work has been accelerated in building the Fayetteville Flyover to be completed before the end of 2014, providing more access to the Uptown area of the City.
What does the current business climate look like in Fayetteville?
The business climate in Fayetteville succinctly put is, "We are open for business" The trends include growth in new and existing businesses. Since October 1st of 2012 through June of 2012 Fayetteville has opened a net total of 305 new businesses, which is the equivalent of more than one new business a day. For this same period Fayetteville has created a net total of 764 new jobs, the equivalent of 2.8 new jobs every day. Over the past 18 months 4 of Fayetteville's manufacturers have added additional employees or additional shifts. Over that same period the state of Arkansas and the Governor's Quick Action fund have provided incentives totaling more than $2 million dollars to research and technology start-ups housed in the Research Technology Park.
The Fayetteville Trail system along with the soon to be opened Razorback Greenway Trail have become an essential part of the infrastructure of the Fayetteville business community. Our trails have become ribbons of commerce bringing people and dollars to retail, service and manufacturing businesses. Additionally, Fayetteville becoming a bicycle friendly city and the installation of bike racks all over the city has been an impetus to even more trail use. Fayetteville's use and the region's use of way finding signs is improving locating and navigating customers to our various business districts like Uptown Fayetteville, Mid Town Fayetteville, Dickson Street Merchants, Block Street and the historic Square. The expansion of the Lights of the Ozarks to include Block Street and Dickson Street this holiday season will be an additional amenity that will bring customers to our various businesses.
One other amenity always desired but often overlooked is sidewalks. Fayetteville has commenced an aggressive sidewalk building program that will build more than 30,000 running feet of sidewalk each year throughout the community for each of the next 4 years. This program starts with sidewalks emanating from our schools and then branching out into our community. Fayetteville is truly becoming a walkable city.
The Chamber is the resource for existing or new businesses as their one stop shop for information and advocacy on how to do business in Fayetteville. The Chamber publishes a booklet on doing business in Fayetteville which is distributed free of charge to anyone requesting a copy. The Chamber is the economic development advisor to the city so we work closely with the City Council, the Mayor, Code enforcement and planning to streamline development. We often say, "It is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Your success begins at the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce located at 123 West Mountain." We sincerely mean that statement.
What upcoming events can we look forward to?
Our upcoming Construction and Developers Banquet is scheduled for October 21st. We will be celebrating architects, developers, engineers, construction trades, lenders all who have a part in growing business in Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas. We will recognize projects all over the region for their outstanding contributions to business and the community.
Also, our Annual Chamber Luncheon is scheduled for November 26th from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. This lunch will celebrate our chamber year, present our Wes Gordon Golden Deeds Award, and present a lifetime achievement award to Coach Frank Broyles for his contribution to the economic development of the region.
If anyone wants more information, please contact us at the Chamber, 479-521-1710.