by Lance Turner
Posted 6/12/2012 04:56 pm
Updated 2 years ago
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas announced Tuesday that it will move its headquarters to the former Celestica Corp. building at 7400 Scott Hamilton Drive in Little Rock, a 570,000-SF facility that will also house the nonprofit's outlet store, an e-waste recycling effort, job training services and other programs.
"The amount of new programs and new services we're going to be able to offer Arkansas -- and just the support we're going to be able to give our internal structure -- is just going to be through the roof," Goodwill Industries Director Brian Itzkowitz told Arkansas Business.
Itzkowitz said Goodwill will add 50 jobs as a result of the new Goodwill Resource Center. Another 50 jobs will be created as the nonprofit opens new thrift stores throughout the year, bringing Goodwill's total Arkansas employment to more than 500 people.
Goodwill made the announcement at a 10 a.m. news conference. Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas economic development officials attended.
"Known for providing job training, Goodwill is increasingly providing the actual jobs as well," Beebe said in a news release. "This expansion will broaden the company's efforts to help Arkansans, and will also help our economy."
Itzkowitz said Monday that about 25,000 SF of the space will be used as an outlet store. Other areas of the building will be devoted to Goodwill's headquarters, operations, job training services and other new programs it has planned for 2013.
For the last 40 years, Goodwill has made its headquarters in a 49,000-SF building at 1110 W. 7th St. in Little Rock. Itzkowitz, who became director of Goodwill Arkansas in 2008, said the new headquarters will allow the organization to offer more services.
"We can't serve enough people because we're out of space. We can't do the computer recycling that we need to do because we don't have the space ...," he said.
As Arkansas Business first reported Monday, Goodwill purchased the property from I-30 Land Co. LLC, led by Little Rock developer Rick Ferguson and former attorney Gene Cauley.
The property, which is adjacent to property leased by Danish wind blade manufacturer LM Wind Power, had been listed for $6.7 million. But Goodwill purchased it May 4 for $2.47 million.
2012 marks the 85th anniversary of Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, which helps the disadvantaged and disabled find jobs. A key part of Goodwill's operation are its thrift stores, which sell low-cost donated items while providing jobs and job training.
The nonprofit has been expanding since Itzkowitz became director in 2008, creating more than 200 jobs and handling job placement for more than 1,000 people. The organization says the number of people its serves has grown from 1,060 in 2008 to more than 5,000 in 2011.
"I have heard that [the new headquarters] building is the fifth largest in the state," Itzkowitz said. "But it is a very large building, and those of us that are going to be working there are going to get our exercise walking from one end to the other."