In The News

MISO Breaks Ground on West Little Rock Site

LITTLE ROCK – A company that manages part of the nation’s electric grid marked the start of construction Friday on a regional center in Little Rock that will employ 50 people earning an average of $85,000 per year.

Midcontinent Independent System Operator CEO John R. Bear said the organization picked Little Rock for the $22 million center because of the supply of engineering talent and the focus by local colleges on what the industry needs.

“It was really quite an easy choice,” Bear said.

Regional grid managers buy wholesale electricity for member utilities and are intended to secure the lowest prices available and sustain a reliable supply.

The company, known as MISO, is headquartered in Carmel, Ind., but needs a center in the South to accommodate its pickup of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. lines in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy signed with MISO after it dissolved its prior system agreement.

The building in west Little Rock is expected to be finished at the end of 2014, and employees are to move in during the spring of 2015.

MISO’s regional hub will be near a similar operation. Southwest Power Pool opened a $62 million headquarters for its 500 employees in 2012 when it consolidated its offices that were spread across Little Rock. Both are nonprofit organizations that manage the flow of electricity among various utility companies.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola noted that the city has about 70,000 students in the community’s colleges and universities.

“It’s about the people; it’s about the talent,” Stodola said.

Bear said the center will be critical as a management center during hurricanes and other natural disasters that disrupt electric grids.

MISO manages the parts of the grid in 15 states in the Midwest and South, and in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

To read the full article by Arkansas Business.

CJRW Stakes Out New Space at Third & Main in Little Rock

Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods of Little Rock said Thursday that it plans to move its downtown headquarters to the Fulk Building at the southwest intersection of Third and Main streets by late 2015.

CJRW, the state’s largest advertising and public relations firm, also said its wholly owned subsidiary, Jones Film Video, will move into a building directly across the street from its new home, at the southeast corner of that same intersection.

In a news release, the agency indicated that it would lease both spaces but did not disclose terms of the deal. The Fulk Building has been home to Bennett’s Military Supply. Jones Film Video will occupy space most recently held by Mr. Cool’s Clothing.

“Our agency has always been located in the heart of downtown and we have been looking at several options for the better part of a year now,” Wayne Woods, CJRW’s chairman and CEO, said. “When we considered what we will need moving forward, the Third and Main location made all the sense in the world. To the extent that our move will advance all that is going on in the Main Street corridor, we are very pleased.

“Downtown has been good to us and we have always been a champion of downtown,” he said.

The announcement adds to the numerous redevelopment projects taking place along Main Street, including the $22 million Mann Building, the K Lofts, the new headquarters for bicycle manufacturer Orbea, the Arkansas Venture Center and the Little Rock Technology Park.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre also plan to occupy rehearsal and creative space along Main.

CJRW negotiated with Terraforma Inc. of Little Rock, a land acquisition and development firm, for the space. Flake & Kelley of Little Rock, a commercial real estate firm, handled the transaction.

To read the full story from Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business 20 in their 20’s

Every year Arkansas Business puts the spotlight on talented young leaders in Arkansas’ business and nonprofit community. Each “20 in Their 20s” class is chosen by an internal committee reviewing more than 300 nominations with an eye toward accomplishments, responsibilities and people clearly ahead of their time. Arkansas Business is proud to present “The New Influentials: 20 in Their 20s.”

Flake & Kelley Commercial would like to congratulate Eddie Bailey for being chosen for the class of 2013 Twenty in their 20’s. To read Eddie’s profile.

ChainLinks 2013 Fall-Winter Retail Forecast

Flake & Kelley is proud to announce that ChainLinks has released their 2013 Fall-Winter Retail Forecast.

Flake & Kelley Commercial is the ChainLinks affiliate for the state of Arkansas. Through ChainLinks, we are part of a nationwide network that facilitates expansion, disposition, relocation and repositioning efforts on a local, regional and national basis. ChainLinks Retail Advisors is a national retail real estate company. In fact, it is the largest retail only real estate service provider in North America. With over 50 offices throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and over 450 retail brokers, our combined leasing activity exceeds 50 million square feet per year.

Retail Space Vacancy Rate Falls

The vacancy rate for retail properties in central Arkansas fell slightly in the second quarter of this year compared with the year-ago period, to 7.5 percent from 7.8 percent. But the second-quarter 2013 rate inched a bit higher when compared with first-quarter 2013, when it stood at 7.3 percent.

“Central Arkansas is still trending well below the national vacancy rate of 10.5 percent,” said Brooke Miller of Flake & Kelley Commercial. “This past quarter, the most significant change locally was represented by the sale of the former Harvest Foods (about 41,000 SF) on East Kiehl in Sherwood.”

(Also see: Sherwood Retail Project Recycled in $1.2M Sale)

“Retailers really begin focusing on sales and bringing in their year-end goals in third and fourth quarters. Good reports there may mean same-store expansions with relocation and the introduction of more new stores in our market,” said Miller.

To read the full article by Arkansas Business.