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KJW

Fascinating article in newest NWA Citiscapes magazine

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Yesterday I picked up the newest NWA Citiscapes Metro Monthly magazine at Poppi's Italian restaurant in Bentonville. It's so new that it's not even on their web site yet. This new magazines cover story is a lengthy one about the growth in northwest Arkansas, and contains a bunch of nice architect's renderings of buildings in progress (most if not all, I'm sure, also pictured here on this forum :) ) but it also had some very interesting, IMO, information.

Here's the first three paragraphs of the cover story entitled: "Booming NWA: Northwest Arkansas growing up and out" (emphases mine on all following paragraphs)...the story's new enough to include news of the baseball stadium vote passage in July, but I'm sorry there's no on-line link to the page I'm transcribing:

Those of us who've lived in Northwest Arkansas for at least a while have grown accustomed to consistently being named at the tops of various best lists: Forbes' best places for business, Inc. Magazine's best places for doing business, the Milken Institute's best performing cities index, etc. And, of course, we're home to the world's top retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and the nation's largest meat producer, Tyson Foods. But are we ready to be No. 51?

"I call Northwest Arkansas the 51st state," said hotelier extraordinaire John Q. Hammons (BTW, according to last night's KNWA news whose Embassy suites hotel in Rogers is currently #1 in the state in receipts in the past year(?)). His Luxurious Embassy Suites Hotel off I-540 in Rogers is one of the larger jewels in the Pinnacle Hills-exit crown.

It is the region's tremendous growth that makes Hammons, of Springfield, MO., think of it in those terms. He credits the location of U.S. 71/I-540 (and the belief that someday it will run from Kansas City to New Orleans) and the economic juggernaut created by Sam Walton, John Tyson, J.B. Hunt and others.

and, speaking of the new multistory Grandview Heights condos on Beaver Lake:

While the development is expected to be popular with vendors and others who've moved to Northwest Arkansas from more urban areas, Grandview's marketing agent says it's actually locals who are showing the most interest. Christine Krzyzanowski of New York-based CK Strategies said 90 per cent of the people who've expressed interest in buying a condo are local residents or people with local ties to the area. "It's not just people coming in from New York," she said.

My thoughts?

- Even though I politely nod to ITK and his crew, who can only build highways when they're given funds for them, don't discount the value of (someday) an I-49 from Winnipeg and Kansas City through NWA to Shreveport with forking Interstate links to Houston and New Orleans.

I talked with a long-time trucker at my church this past Sunday and asked him after services if he really thought such an I-49 would be heavily used. He almost guffawed: "Look at how many trucks are on (the existing road with daily snarls at Bella Vista and New Year's eve ones at Macadoodle's/Jug Store Junction) now!"

Arthur Stilwell, who built the Kansas City Southern railway which essentially parallels what will be I-49 from KC to Shreveport (and even New Orleans) recognized that his railroad would be the shortest route from KC to the Gulf of Mexico. That geography hasn't changed, and billionaire John Q. Hammons sees that as a very big Interstate asset to NWA some day. (Though I still think Fort Smith will benefit more.)

- Aporkalypse, you still may be right about JQH believing minor league baseball won't be good financial deal in NWA (even though he's sure been enthusiastic about it in his hometown).

But his "51st state" comment (more on that in a moment) makes me think he of the December 2005 "I'll-build-you-a-stadium-in-Rogers-for-a-Texas-League-team" was/perhaps is a LOT more interested in bringing a TL team to NWA than was let on, and makes me believe that if (as we learned this week) Springdale had been pursuing the same team since a year earlier there may have been more behind-the-scenes wrangling (no pun intende) between JQH and Springdale than we may ever know.

- As for Grandview Heights, chalk that up to the list of "Things people in NWA don't want to have to drive somewhere else in order to do". I had a feeling there were a lot of people (perhaps) politely holding their tongues and pocketbooks until the lake residents opposed to the condos had their day in court.

It's called "being in a major metropolitan area".

- Mcheiss, I know it's probably against forum rules but if not, could we consider renaming this forum to "Northwest Arkansas - the 51st State"? Pleeeeease? :silly:

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For some reason I don't know if the statistic is good news (about 90% of interest in Grandview Heights is from locals). Maybe that means they are not soliciting as much outside interest as they wanted. Plus how many people are just curious because they are in the local area and know about it. Me personally, I'll be sharing my time between my condo on beaver lake, my condo in pinnacle, and my condo in fayetteville.

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For some reason I don't know if the statistic is good news (about 90% of interest in Grandview Heights is from locals). Maybe that means they are not soliciting as much outside interest as they wanted. Plus how many people are just curious because they are in the local area and know about it. Me personally, I'll be sharing my time between my condo on beaver lake, my condo in pinnacle, and my condo in fayetteville.

Good point.

Could be that a lot of the "locals" here are the transplant/vendors (who are putting down roots). That lady's seeing things from a New York perspective (and as I recall New York State AG Elliott Spitzer was/is a partner in this, intriguingly).

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- Mcheiss, I know it's probably against forum rules but if not, could we consider renaming this forum to "Northwest Arkansas - the 51st State"? Pleeeeease? :silly:

I wish we could but Marc and the other Mods won't go for it.

Plus, I think they are wanting to make a Puerto Rico Subforum and that name has been considered for it.

If there's another name that is relevant to the area that you guys would like to see changed, discuss it.

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Aporkalypse, did you see the face I made in my initial post after saying that?

Yeah, the goof I was referring to was JQH, not you.

There are states where there is just a huge dichotomy - North vs South Louisiana, Northern Florida vs Central and South Florida, Northern vs Southern California, downstate vs upstate New York, etc. There are big differences across Arkansas but it's not as pronounced as in many other states.

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Yeah, the goof I was referring to was JQH, not you.

There are states where there is just a huge dichotomy - North vs South Louisiana, Northern Florida vs Central and South Florida, Northern vs Southern California, downstate vs upstate New York, etc. There are big differences across Arkansas but it's not as pronounced as in many other states.

That's the truth. How about Philadelphia metro versus the rest of the state, that is about as dramatic of a shift as one can ever see (NYC versus upstate is pretty close). NWA doesn't even hold a candle to that.

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That's the truth. How about Philadelphia metro versus the rest of the state, that is about as dramatic of a shift as one can ever see (NYC versus upstate is pretty close). NWA doesn't even hold a candle to that.

I had a friend from the Northeast tell me once that Pennsylvania was Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle. I thought it was an interesting thing to say.

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- Even though I politely nod to ITK and his crew, who can only build highways when they're given funds for them, don't discount the value of (someday) an I-49 from Winnipeg and Kansas City through NWA to Shreveport with forking Interstate links to Houston and New Orleans.

I talked with a long-time trucker at my church this past Sunday and asked him after services if he really thought such an I-49 would be heavily used. He almost guffawed: "Look at how many trucks are on (the existing road with daily snarls at Bella Vista and New Year's eve ones at Macadoodle's/Jug Store Junction) now!"

Arthur Stilwell, who built the Kansas City Southern railway which essentially parallels what will be I-49 from KC to Shreveport (and even New Orleans) recognized that his railroad would be the shortest route from KC to the Gulf of Mexico. That geography hasn't changed, and billionaire John Q. Hammons sees that as a very big Interstate asset to NWA some day. (Though I still think Fort Smith will benefit more.)

Sure, having I-49 completed wouldn't hurt NWA whatsoever. But, let me remind the audience here that corporations like Wal-Mart, JB Hunt, and Tyson's, which all depend heavily on good transportation infrastructure, were doing just find even before any 4-lane connection to the outside world ever graced NWA with its presence. Just pointing that out. Of course, better infrastructure can not only reduce the cost of freight transport (e.g., reducing congestion), but it can possibly attract frieght-related business and help roadside businesses.

Also just remember-- completing something like I-49, just in AR itself, will cost billions... money that could also be spent doing other much needed projects in NWA. If "value' was always obvious and well-documented for huge public works projects intended in some part for economic benefit, then there wouldn't be nearly the debate or argument over funding them as there is today. But, that's what we have politicians for... something for them to debate about

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Sure, having I-49 completed wouldn't hurt NWA whatsoever. But, let me remind the audience here that corporations like Wal-Mart, JB Hunt, and Tyson's, which all depend heavily on good transportation infrastructure, were doing just find even before any 4-lane connection to the outside world ever graced NWA with its presence. Just pointing that out. Of course, better infrastructure can not only reduce the cost of freight transport (e.g., reducing congestion), but it can possibly attract frieght-related business and help roadside businesses.

Also just remember-- completing something like I-49, just in AR itself, will cost billions... money that could also be spent doing other much needed projects in NWA. If "value' was always obvious and well-documented for huge public works projects intended in some part for economic benefit, then there wouldn't be nearly the debate or argument over funding them as there is today. But, that's what we have politicians for... something for them to debate about

ITK, understood. It's kind of interesting that John "51" Hammons, not on your list above, just had his Embassy Suites announced as Arkansas' leader in hotel receipts for 2005 and that building just happens to sit astride I-540/I-49. The way the article made it sound was as if his belief in the future potential of that I-49 corridor and the acknowledgment of Walton, Hunt and Tyson were two separate (powerful) economic entities.

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