Kibitz (chat) with Chung Tan, Manager of Economic Development for the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

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Chung Tan, Manager of Economic Development for the Fayetteville Chamber of CommerceThis week we had the wonderful opportunity to "chat" with Chung Tan, Manager of Economic Development for the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

Chung has been a tremendous resource for us, and we are SO impressed by all she does to make Fayetteville a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

We are happy to share her expertise on Fayetteville with you.

What growth have you seen in Fayetteville in 2011?

Growth in number of cars registered, growth in number of jobs, growth in number of new students enrolled in U of A, growth of multi-family residential projects.

What growth do you expect to experience for 2012 and beyond?

The economic recession is supposedly over but there continues to be a hangover.  Once consumer confidence comes back, growth will follow.  As for Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas will continue with its trend of having an increase in student enrollment.  Cosmopolitan Hotel is about to be sold to new owners who planned to tear down the building to the foundation and build back up.  Once this is done, we will have an additional of about 200 rooms and space for meetings and conventions.  This will drive the conventions and hotel business in Fayetteville.

The AMP is getting ready to spend over $3 million for renovation and expansion.  When this is completed, we are expected to draw new programs and concerts to Fayetteville where in the past was not possible because of inadequate space.  Walton Arts Center is still in the development stage for a 600 seat theater.  This new building will be an asset to attract more shows to Fayetteville and the overflow effect is an increase in food and entertainment revenues.  The City of Fayetteville is in planning now for a multi-story parking garage around the entertainment/downtown area.  Once this is up and running, it will be another asset that will resolve our current problem of lack of parking.  Subsequently, it will make the district more attractive to new businesses and patrons.

With many improvements being made to parks, trails, and recreation - what added value does this give Fayetteville businesses and residents?

This is a great value to the quality of life in Fayetteville.  The parks, trails, and recreational facilities are assets for us when we attract new workers to Fayetteville.  The US population especially the Gen Ys, in general, is moving towards sustainability, better health, balance of work-play, and going back to nature.  Fayetteville and NWA can offer all these to new and existing residents.  These assets are used by local employers when they try to hire workers especially professionals from outside to be willing to work in Fayetteville.

What role does the University of Arkansas play on long-term business growth in Fayetteville?

The U of A is one of the most important economic engines for Fayetteville.  Increasing students means more needs for housing, automobiles, gas, food, and other essentials.  The sporting events, graduations, move-in days, etc. bring visitors from out of towns.  Again, more hotel nights, entertainment, gas, and food.   Because of Chancellor Gearhart’s foresight, he challenges, drives, and provides the necessary infrastructure so that professors work with students and other partners to move innovative products and services to market.  The research technology park is the incubator for turning ideas to commercially viable products and services.  The result in new start-up companies.  U of A is the pipe-line for new companies.

Would you attribute the growth in Fayetteville this past year to an increase in small business openings or an increase in large industry and their vendor supporters?

Growth in Fayetteville is fueled by both home grown and out of town businesses.  In general, more than 85% business openings have less than 10 employees.

What challenges or obstacles do you think Fayetteville will face in the coming years to maintain its growth rate, and continue to be a business destination for the region?

The lack of space will be our challenge.  Fayetteville is pretty much built out.  We are looking into infill now and later redevelopment will become more important.

Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

Many thanks to Chung and the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce for all they do for Northwest Arkansas!  Stay tuned to next week's kibitz.

Last modified onTuesday, 15 March 2016 13:25