ArcBest Corp. Unveils $30M Plan for New Headquarters in Fort Smith

by Lance Turner and Marty Cook  on Friday, May. 30, 2014 1:39 pm  

ArcBest Corp. of Fort Smith

ArcBest Corp. of Fort Smith said Friday that it will buy 40 acres of land at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith to build a new corporate headquarters. The $30 million project will allow the firm to support 975 new jobs in Fort Smith through 2021.

The company, which changed its name from Arkansas Best Corp. on May 1, says it has exceeded capacity at its 195,000-SF Fort Smith office on Old Greenwood Road and at other leased office space as its five subsidiaries have grown.

CEO Judy McReynolds said the project marks "another great milestone in the evolution of our company." 

"With plans for growth at all of our operating companies, including ABF Freight, ABF Logistics, Panther Premium Logistics and FleetNet America, it is important that we develop additional space to accommodate these expanding businesses,” McReynolds said.

"Our decision to build a new facility in Fort Smith for the ArcBest and ABF Logistics companies underscores our long commitment to this area, and we are grateful for the commitment from the city, the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce and the state to help us meet our needs," she said.

City and state leaders are pitching in with incentives. The city of Fort Smith plans to vote next week on tax-back incentives on building materials for the project. And the Arkansas Economic Development Commission has offered its Create Rebate, a tax refund based on job creation that could save ArcBest $16 million to $19 million over 10 years.

ArcBest has set a goal to grow total corporate revenue to $3 billion by the end of 2015, with $1 billion coming from its emerging businesses, including "asset-light" logistics services like Panther Premium Logistics and ABF Logistics. In 2013, revenue grew 11 percent to $2.3 billion, the company said.

Tim Allen, president and CEO of the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce, said average salary figures for the new jobs haven't been released, but that expects salaries for those positions in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.

Shuffling the Deck

Walter Echols, ArcBest’s vice president of real estate, said Friday that the company has yet to select a project architect and contractor for the new building. But some general plans are in place.

The company is paying $400,000 for the 40-acre tract at Chaffee Crossing. The new building will be 120,000 to 150,000-SF, smaller than the corporate center on Old Greenwood Road. Data center functions will be in the basement of building, which will have three or four additional floors. 

Executives said operations of ABF Freight will remain at the Greenwood Road facility, along with ArcBest Technologies, the company’s IT group. ABF Logistics, along with ArcBest's corporate and administrative functions, will move to the newly constructed office building. 



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