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Whole Foods Anchors $112M Pinnacle Springs in Rogers

5 min read

There doesn’t seem to be an end to the good news for Pinnacle Hills.

The famed Billion Dollar Mile development area of Rogers is one of the most sought-after project sites in northwest Arkansas. That was proved again when SJC Ventures of Atlanta announced it would develop a $112 million mixed-use project called Pinnacle Springs that will be anchored by a Whole Foods Market.

The site will include the 37,000-SF Whole Foods and an additional 43,500 SF of retail space at the northwest corner of New Hope Road and Promenade Boulevard. Just north of the Whole Foods project, SJC plans a 350-unit apartment complex; combined, the project will cover about 22 acres.

“We are incredibly excited about it and can’t get it open soon enough,” said Justin Latone, SJC Ventures’ senior vice president of leasing.

SJC has already announced two tenants of the development: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar of Asheville, North Carolina. Both restaurants expect to open in late 2024; it will be the first Arkansas location for each.

Latone said SJC has a signed agreement with a third tenant for Pinnacle Springs and that the official announcement would be made in the next month or so. The opening of the rest of the development is not set in stone but it is expected to be in 2025.

Colliers International handled the leasing agreements for SJC and the two restaurants. Alan Cole, a principal with Colliers, said the Pinnacle Springs project is unique in that it is east of Interstate 49 and north of the Pinnacle Hills Promenade, the massive open-air shopping mall that helped jump-start the area’s explosive development growth.

Alan Cole

“It is a very popular development,” Cole said. “Because of the scale and scope of the development, it has the potential to dramatically impact the trade area. Generally, retailers had been focused on the area around the Promenade and then the west side of the interstate along Pinnacle Hills Parkway or Pauline Whitaker Boulevard.

“Now, New Hope Road and just north of there becomes a major area for retail. I think it expands the trade area.”

Market Knowledge

Pinnacle Hills isn’t a secret in the development world, but SJC Ventures had some inside information when it went looking for a spot for its project.

SJC had developed the Whole Foods in Fayetteville, which opened on North College Avenue in 2016. When Whole Foods executives told the company it was interested in another northwest Arkansas location, it didn’t take long to settle on Pinnacle Hills.

The properties needed were acquired in several transactions, including three for $9.2 million from subsidiaries led by Johnelle Hunt, the co-founder of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell, and a $4 million purchase from Core Architects of Rogers.

“It has been such a great success,” Latone said of the Whole Foods location in Fayetteville. “They were in discussions with us about the need to consider having a second location. We identified Rogers as a good second location for them.”

Cole said a development such as Pinnacle Springs gets companies’ attention because of its proximity to a Whole Foods. Getting prospective tenants to visit northwest Arkansas, though, is usually even more effective in closing a sale.

“Whole Foods gets their ear, but you have to get the stakeholders into the market so they can see what is going on in northwest Arkansas,” Cole said. “Northwest Arkansas, if you just look at the size of the market and density, it may not meet a lot of these concepts’ criteria for where they go. However, once you get them here and they see the market, they get a better picture of the market.”

Cole said developments such as Pinnacle Springs and the under-construction Plaza at Pinnacle Hills are making retail space important elements of the project rather than just “filler” pieces. The Plaza, a project by Chad Hatfield and Paula Whalen, will have 300 luxury apartments, retail space, a four-story parking garage and a Ruth’s Chris restaurant.

“Both have retail at the forefront of the mixed-use component as an amenity to the apartments, but they can stand on their own,” said Cole, whose company is handling leasing for the Plaza. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You build things people want to be around, people come in, and then more things want to be around those people. It has a multiplier effect.”

Premium Space

In recent years, as Pinnacle Hills continued to grow in popularity and value, many developers began to wonder how much more runway was left.

Cole said many experts expected projects to start popping up down the road at the nearest interstate interchanges. The theory was that Pinnacle Hills’ space was limited, so builders would have to settle for close-by tracts.

That hasn’t happened yet.

“We have seen developers and tenants have exhausted every stitch of land in Pinnacle Hills,” Cole said. “We expected maybe that Pleasant Grove or another interchange around Pinnacle might have some more significant development by now.

“It shows the resiliency of Pinnacle Hills and the desire by everyone to be here to see all these groups fight to get every last piece of dirt in this trade area to place themselves.”

The Pinnacle Springs-Whole Foods project wasn’t planned to be as expansive as it is. The Fayetteville Whole Foods sits on about 7 acres.

“Generally speaking, we will search around a small area, find a site that makes the most sense for Whole Foods and then that site, depending on how large it is, we determine the best uses for that site,” Latone said. “We really like the highway adjacency, we really liked the access and we liked it so much. The original portion of the site was Whole Foods and shops. What we ended up adding to the project was the [apartment] parcel just east of the Home Depot.”

Cole said Pinnacle Springs could spark interest in Pinnacle Hills east of I-49, and there are several other large developments in the queue that should keep the area going for another decade.

“There are still tracts yet to be developed, but there is so much demand you will see them developed,” Cole said. “They will find ways to get in here. There is still room for exciting projects.”

What’s in a Name

One of the newest developments planned for Pinnacle Hills in Rogers is the $112 million Pinnacle Springs project (see Page 16).

But it won’t be known by that name for much longer.

SJC Ventures of Atlanta is the company behind the project, which will feature a Whole Foods market and a 350-unit apartment complex along with restaurants and retail space.

The company, though, is already working on a new name to replace Pinnacle Springs and hopes to have one in the next 30 days.

The reason is that so many developments have Pinnacle in their name, and SJC would like its new project to stand out.

A quick, unscientific internet search will call up numerous entities with Pinnacle in their names, including Pinnacle Country Club, Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Pinnacle Heights.

“There is a conversation going on internally about a new name for the project, but we can’t release that yet,” said Justin Latone, SJC Ventures’ senior vice president of leasing.

“There are too many Pinnacles around. We feel like we are going to get lost in the mix of them.”

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