Consider 2012 One Wild Ride

by Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Staff  on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 2:49 pm  

The upscale Sterling Frisco, a $28.5 million project near campus, is pre-leasing for fall 2013. Other projects under construction include The Vue, valued at $25 million, and The Domain at Fayetteville, valued at $22 million. The three developments will add about 1,983 beds to the existing apartment inventory.

Another project, Fayetteville-based Specialized Real Estate Group’s planned development at 555 W. Maple St., hit a snag when the university’s board of trustees voted to acquire most of the 2.96-acre site for a parking lot.

Three more planned projects are apparently on hold, perhaps due to all the competition.

Kathy Deck, director of the UA’s Center for Business and Economic Research, urged multifamily developers eyeing the student population to exercise restraint.

In the Skyline Report real estate survey released in September, Deck said, “Given the history of enrollment growth, we are not going to see enough student population growth to fill all these new apartments together with the existing stock.”


7. Benton County Investment — Of all the land deals in Benton County in 2012, one stood out above the rest.

In March, Little Rock businessman Joe Whisenhunt made a significant investment that will cause ripples in the commercial real estate market for several years.

Whisenhunt, CEO of Whisenhunt Investment Group and one of the state’s wealthiest individuals, paid $19 million — in cash — for 375 acres of developable land along the Interstate 540 corridor.

The transaction was made up of three separate deals involving Other Real Estate Owned in the portfolio of Bank of America.

The acreage encompasses land in the Pinnacle Hills, Pleasant Crossing and The Grove developments, land that once belonged to groups that included Northwest Arkansas developers Gary Brandon, Charles Reaves, Bill Schwyhart and Robert Thornton.

Industry insiders said the transaction sent a clear signal that Whisenhunt, who was a key player in the growth and development of west Little Rock, believes the NWA market is positioned well for growth. And he intends to be a major player.



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