New Jonesboro Medical Center Drawing Retail Development Boom

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 12:00 am  

The new NEA Baptist Medical Center became a magnet for commercial development in Jonesboro when the project was announced in 2009.

The six-story, 550,000-SF hospital, adjoining 213,000-SF medical office building and 34,000-SF cancer care facility are still a few weeks away from opening. But the 77-acre campus has already drawn a string of restaurants and shops northward along Stadium Boulevard to East Johnson Avenue.

“This thing here is a game-changer,” said Josh Brown, co-owner of Jonesboro’s Haag Brown Commercial Real Estate & Development.

More commercial projects are on the way for this stretch of U.S. 49, too. In the background is a 200-acre tract once optioned for development by Bruce Burrow before financial reversals sidetracked him. (See here for more on Burrow.)

During the past 36 months, Jonesboro has tallied more than $354 million worth of commercial construction. Much of the activity has taken place along the Stadium Boulevard corridor southeast of the Arkansas State University campus.

Sissy’s Log Cabin of Pine Bluff opened a free-standing jewelry store at 2900 Parkwood Road, just off Stadium Boulevard on part of the old Craighead County Fairgrounds.

“We’ve had a tremendous response,” said Bill Jones, president of Sissy’s Log Cabin. “Jonesboro has such a large trade area, more than 400,000 people. There is a vast opportunity.”

The 6,000-SF shop, which opened in April 2012, has the distinction of housing the first Rolex boutique in Arkansas.

More commercial projects northeast of ASU are contributing to the mix as rural parcels are undergoing transformation.

“We’re seeing an influx of opportunities on the northeast part of town because of the new hospital,” said Otis Spriggs, Jonesboro planning director.

To the east of the new NEA Baptist campus, pastureland is poised for sale to an affiliate of Reliant Healthcare of Conway to develop a nursing home and to Cinema Management Group Inc. of Memphis for a 16-screen cinema project. The theatre project will more than double the number of screens in Jonesboro, where the Malco Hollywood 12 is the lone movie theater option.

The mega NEA Baptist project isn’t just relocating 1,272 jobs from its current facility 4.9 miles south at 3024 Stadium Blvd. The hospital announced it is adding 530 jobs.



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