Custom Aircraft Cabinets Project Highlights Development Activity Along Landers-Warden Roads

The U.S. 67-167 corridor in North Little Rock and Sherwood is hosting a round of new construction and retail redevelopment.

The commercial projects, a mixture of industrial, hotel, office and restaurants, are scattered along Landers Road on the east and Warden Road on the west.

The biggest of the bunch is the redevelopment of the former National Home Center at 5510 Landers Road in Sherwood. Custom Aircraft Cabinets is investing $5.9 million to buy and convert the 194,500-SF complex into its new home.

"This is perfect for us," said Mike Gueringer, co-owner of Custom Aircraft Cabinets.

The company has outgrown its North Little Rock facilities, a 38,100-SF plant at 10015 Firestone Lane and leased 6,200-SF finishing shop at 12819 MacArthur Drive.

In addition to relocating its 142 employees, the specialized woodworking and upholstery manufacturer intends to add 150 jobs during the next two years.

The 15.5-acre Sherwood property gives the firm elbow room to accommodate the growth. The partners hope to be fully operational at the Sherwood location by mid-December.

"We just want to blink and be in here," said Paul Reesnes, CAC co-owner. "We have to move everything."

Accompanying Custom Aircraft Cabinets in the move from Firestone Lane is Reliable Fire Protection.

Reesnes and Gueringer are investors in Reliable Fire along with Mark Hall and Wallace Reed, who oversee operations.

Reliable will occupy about 5,000 SF on the north end of the former National Home Center.

The project was most recently called Stock Building Supply, the company that bought NHC out of bankruptcy in 2010.

The Sherwood relocation marks a half-dozen expansions since Custom Aircraft was launched in 1989 in spartan quarters.

"Our office space [in the new location] is bigger than the garage space we started with," Reesnes said.

The largest new commercial construction project in the corridor also represents a retail redevelopment.

Kana Hotel Group of Knoxville, Tenn., is developing a Courtyard by Marriott at 4339 Warden Road in North Little Rock.

The four-story, 98-room project will replace a vacant Circuit City that was razed.

Land and construction costs alone total $6 million.

"We plan on opening in August 2013," said Alpesh Patel, chief executive officer of Kana Hotel Group.

The hotel, KHG's first in Arkansas, will employ 30 full-time workers. EBCO General Contractors Ltd. of Cameron, Texas, will employ about 50 during its construction.

The project is among three other hotels KHG intends to roll out next year: SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Ridgeland, Miss., Homewood Suites by Hilton in Mobile, Ala., and Embassy Suites in Knoxville, Tenn.

KHG operates 22 hotels in nine states: Tennessee, eight; Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi, three each; and Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas, one each.

Office, Eateries & More

The former Harley Davidson project at 4300 Landers Road in North Little Rock was transformed into medical office space for OrthoSurgeons.

The group of doctors includes William Hefley Jr., Joe Crow, Alina Voinea, Larry Nguyen, Jason Stewart and Scott Bowen.

The 10,000-SF facility was revamped as part of a $1.5 million redevelopment.

Three restaurants, one new and two redeveloped, are part of this year's roster of Warden-Landers activity.

Construction of a 6,200-SF Buffalo Wild Wings is moving forward at the northwest corner of Warden Road and Silver Creek Drive in Sherwood.

The $2 million development is across the highway from the Custom Aircraft Cabinets project.

The former Roadhouse Grill at 3510 Landers Road in North Little Rock is undergoing remodeling to become the third David's Burgers location in central Arkansas. The $800,000 restaurant development will join DB eateries in Little Rock and Conway.

Newk's Express Cafe has been operational for a couple months at the former Shorty Small's location at 4317 Warden Road in North Little Rock. That makeover weighed in at $550,000.

A wildcard in the mix is a recreational development in the planning stages for the wetlands behind River City RV at 6721 Warden Road in Sherwood.

"We're going to create this nice little trail along the creek," said Kelly Coughlin, economic development director for Sherwood. "We hope to eventually do 3.9 miles. We're going to figure out some way to do it."

Planned for the first stage is a 476-foot boardwalk to keep visitors high and dry above the soggy bottoms. Coughlin hopes to get the Turtle Bay project moving with grant money.