$50M Revitalization Plan Aims To Turn El Dorado into Cultural Mecca

by Michelle Corbet  on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 12:00 am  

One of the major challenges Stratton said he faces when recruiting companies to El Dorado is the city’s isolation from an interstate highway.

The Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department’s Connecting Arkansas Program will ease this issue when it widens about 6 miles of Highway 82 to four lanes in 2017, beginning at the intersection of Airport Drive and ending at the start of Highway 82B.

In the meantime, Stratton said, the city’s efforts to attract business through a vibrant downtown are a step in the right direction. The city’s three publicly traded companies — Murphy Oil Corp. and spinoffs Deltic Timber Corp. and Murphy USA Inc. — have been the initiative’s biggest supporters.

The founding Murphy family realizes the correlation between quality of life and the success of their business interests, Stratton said. “To make their company grow and prosper, it will require amenities to attract the best talent,” he said.

New Murphy Headquarters

In addition to the revitalization and philanthropic support, the Murphy family is also making an infrastructure investment to ensure their flagship company remains in El Dorado with the construction of the new Murphy Oil Corp. headquarters.

With energy exploration and production operations that span the globe, Murphy Oil could have established a new headquarters anywhere, but chose to build a new facility directly next to its current building in downtown El Dorado.

When Murphy Oil spun off its retail fuel station business last year, a decision was made to keep the new Murphy USA in the existing building while Murphy Oil would build a new facility.

Stratton said generations removed from the founders often feel the pull to move businesses to bigger cities. “My hat’s off to them to keep that from happening,” he said.

Polk Stanley Wilcox of Little Rock is the architect of the building, and PDR Corp. of Houston is designing the interior.

The 86,000-SF building will consist of a two-story lobby and gallery with meeting rooms connected to a five-story office tower by a glass stairwell that features the Murphy Oil Corp. logo.

Three lawyers’ offices and the former office of the South Arkansas Historic Society were demolished earlier this summer to make room for the new Murphy headquarters. Construction has started, and the headquarters is expected to open in September 2015.



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