Wal-Mart Delivers Retail Boost to NWA Cities

by Marty Cook  on Monday, Apr. 28, 2014 12:00 am  

The city had hoped to do it in the years after Arvest Ballpark opened to host the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2008. Unfortunately, shortly after the minor league team moved to the area, a recession swept through the economy and much development was halted.

Springdale’s once-struggling tax base expects to get a boost not just from the 300-plus new employees at Walmart but the other businesses that open up around it.

“It’s huge,” Ginn said “It gives them an opportunity to grow that northern part of Washington County. It’s a catalyst. It spurs economic growth and creates jobs.”

Rogers said city leaders of Springdale showed foresight by going ahead anyway with infrastructure improvements, some of which will directly benefit the future development of the western side of the city. The city plans to extend and widen 56th Street from south of the ballpark to Elm Springs Road.

“It gives shoppers the opportunity to get from here to there,” Rogers said. “Development begets development. Walmart going in will speed up the timeline for additional development. You can see the potential. Walmart is the next brick in the wall.”

Rogers said the remaining nine outparcels at the Elm Springs site have attracted attention. There is more than outparcels, as well.

There are approximately 100 acres surrounding the future Walmart and the nearby Macadoodles. Rogers expects the combination of better infrastructure and an existing Supercenter will prove to be popular selling points.

“That will grow the attractiveness of the development,” Rogers said. “You take Walmart and these 11 out-lots. Being near a Supercenter is extremely attractive for retailers.

“That will be ready sooner, I believe, rather than later to open for development. It has significant potential for development.”

In Farmington, a neighborhood market across the street from city hall on Main Street has helped spark some growth, officials said. A Domino’s pizza restaurant and a Casey’s General Store have already opened down the street from the Walmart, which is still under construction.

Wal-Mart also has neighborhood markets going into Centerton, Siloam Springs and Rogers, and supercenters going into Centerton and Huntsville. The Rogers’ neighborhood market is also in a downtown location.

“What I’m really excited about is Wal-Mart is investing in downtowns,” Harvey said. “They want to attract residents and retrench. One of the big issues for residents is they were too far from the grocery store. That itself is going to have a big impact.”



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