Tech Park Has $522M Impact, UA Study Finds

Tech Park Has $522M Impact, UA Study Finds
Phillip Stafford, president of the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation, addresses the crowd at the "Celebrating 10 Years of Innovation" event held Thursday at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. (Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas)

The Arkansas Research & Technology Park has had an economic impact of more than a half-billion dollars since it opened 10 years ago, according to a new economic impact analysis released Thursday by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Arkansas.

UA officials unveiled the report at a special event commemorating the 126-acre park's 10th anniversary. Construction on the research park began in 2003 and its first building, the Innovation Center, was dedicated on Oct. 15, 2004.

"From the vantage of 10 years, it's clear that the Arkansas Research & Technology Park has been an unqualified success, and its anniversary is well worth taking some time to celebrate," said UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart told a crowd that gathered in the Innovation Center atrium.

The Center for Business and Economic Research, part of the UA's Sam Walton College of Business, found that labor income associated with the research park's tenant companies totaled $189.5 million from 2005 to 2014, and the park’s overall economic impact on the state from 2003 to 2014 totaled $522.9 million.

The park is managed by the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation and includes several facilities that support university research and technology-based economic development. The park includes three multitenant facilities and three multidisciplinary research facilities comprising roughly 285,000 SF of research and development space.

The UA operates more than 20 research centers, institutes and labs at the park, located in south Fayetteville. Facilities at the park include the Genesis Technology Incubator, the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, the Engineering Research Center, the High Density Electronics Center, the Innovation Center (skills training, education, research, office and lab space) and the Enterprise Center (office, lab and manufacturing space).

Phil Stafford, president of the UATDF, told Arkansas Business this week that 38 affiliate companies and 196 employees were based at the park at the close of the 2014 fiscal year, resulting in a total employment impact of 385 jobs statewide.

"By concentrating leading-edge facilities together with a rich pool of talent and innovative ideas, our plan for the ARTP is not only being realized but is having a measurable impact on the local and state economy," he said. 

Based on expenditures by the park’s affiliates for fiscal 2014, which ended June 30, the research park generated $54.7 million in economic activity statewide and $1.8 million in state and local taxes, Stafford said.

"From proof-of-concept to early development, and on to actual product development, the ARTP has nurtured innovation and technological development for a decade now," Gearhart said. "The University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation continues to promote the translation of university research into groundbreaking innovations that are fueling a growing entrepreneurial culture."

The park’s partners include the city of Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Council, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority.