Commercial real estate firm Bluestem Partners of Kansas City, Kansas, on Thursday announced a project to bring nearly 1 million SF of warehouse space to the Little Rock Port.
The speculative industrial development on 65 acres will feature two buildings, the first of which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2023. The site is located on Zeuber Road adjacent to Amazon's fulfillment center.
Bryan Day, executive director of the Port, said Bluestem purchased the property for $3.54 million. He told Port board members the project would create at least 200 jobs, but that figure would ultimately depend on who moves into the buildings.
Bailey Construction and Consulting LLC of Little Rock is the lead contractor on the project, called the South Port Commerce Center.
The Port had been holding the site for Czech gun manufacturer CZ-USA, which in 2019 announced plans to build its North American headquarters on the property. But the pandemic delayed the $90 million project. An extended deadline to start construction by June 1, 2021, passed with no action by CZ-USA.
Day said Thursday that if CZ-USA decides to revive the project, the Port will find them another site.
"For various reasons, they chose not to come, and so we put it back on the market," he said. "Bluestem came and talked to us and it appears to be a great fit for what they want to do."
The next step is to market the site. Day said Bluestem could target manufacturing and distribution companies. Co-founder and partner Luke Neville said the company will get deeper into that process as the development takes shape.
"Right now, it's set up on a pure spec basis," he said.
Clint O'Neal, deputy director and executive vice president of global business for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said the warehouse space will provide a significant advantage when competing against other areas to recruit business.
"Access to high quality industrial facilities is a top priority for companies that are looking to locate or expand within the state," O'Neal. "Bluestem Partners’ decision to invest at the port will give the right company speed to market, and given our pro-business climate and excellent workforce, I’m confident that soon we will welcome hundreds of quality jobs for Arkansans.”