WeWork Plows Ahead in Northwest Arkansas

WeWork Plows Ahead in Northwest Arkansas
(Mapbox/Google Maps)

Bentonville developer Josh Kyles said his planned 200,000-SF office building in downtown Bentonville is progressing despite the doom and gloom surrounding partner WeWork of New York.

Kyles said he expects to submit the final design and plans to the city of Bentonville early next year with groundbreaking in the spring. Kyles said the WeWork architect, Michel Rojkind of Mexico, visited Bentonville last month, and geotechnical drilling was done on the site in preparation for construction of the building, which has been billed as much-needed office space for 3,200 workers in Walmart Inc.’s neighborhood.

Whispers was curious since earlier this month WeWork announced a $1.25 billion quarterly loss and announced layoffs of 20% of its workforce this past week. That bad news came on the heels of the ouster of CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann after a failed initial public offering of the shared-office space company.

SoftBank of Tokyo became majority owner of WeWork in the aftermath with a $5 billion investment. Kyles said he is confident of WeWork’s stability under SoftBank’s ownership.

While no formal plans or permit requests have been submitted, Kyles and the city have been in regular discussions about the project, though. “It will not be a run-of-the-mill building so it may take some more time,” Kyles said.

Kyles and partner Kris Compton bought the 1.5-acre lot for $3.5 million in 2015. The site of a since-demolished nursing home is a hop, skip and a jump from the thriving downtown square.

“We are very confident in the Bentonville market,” Kyles said.