$19 Million Buys Piece of Billion-Dollar Mile & More in Benton County

by George Waldon  on Monday, Mar. 12, 2012 12:00 am  

Johnny Kincaid, left, and Charles Martin of Little Rock?s Whisenhunt Investment Group. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

"That's important, whereas many developers have a bank to appease," said Johnny Kincaid, chief operating officer at WIG. "We don't. We have patience and the ability to wait for the right opportunity and not succumb to external pressures. Debt service is certainly one of them."

At 192 acres, holdings once controlled by Charles Reaves represent the biggest piece of the Whisenhunt acquisition puzzle. This commercial land includes property in front of a Wal-Mart Supercenter and four small parcels along Pleasant Grove Road in the north. The largest swath of the property extends south between I-540 and Dixieland Road from Pleasant Crossing Boulevard to Oakwood Avenue in Lowell.

The Whisenhunt land already is the beneficiary of an estimated $10 million worth of infrastructure improvements in the form of utilities, water/sewer and street work that includes curbs and gutters. Kincaid believes bust-adjusted land costs and values will help accelerate the rebound of development activity in Benton County.

"We think the next 10 years will be even more dynamic because of the recasting of cost basis," he said.

The last piece of the Whisenhunt purchase is 64 acres assembled by the Pinnacle Partners and lost through foreclosure by two of its former partners, Bill Schwyhart and Robert Thornton.

Most of the land (54 acres) is at the southwest corner of I-540 and Pauline Whitaker Parkway, a nod to a former owner of the property. The remaining 10 acres is on the west side of Champs Drive, north of the entryway to the gated, golf-course neighborhood of Pinnacle Hills.

"It's a great play, a great opportunity," said Ball, who helped broker the deal. "Everyone's been waiting for the dam to break in northwest Arkansas. I think the dam broke here.

"It will be interesting to see what effect this deal has on the market. This might represent the bottom of the market."



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