Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

KJW

What will be Northwest Arkansas' "Fourth wave" of growth?

15 posts in this topic

Moderators, I don't know if we could do a poll based on today's article on the slowdown of NWA growth in the Demo-zette, but if we could, here's what I'd do. BTW, something that surprised me...the Rogers, AR school district, at this school year's end, has only about 400 less students than the Fort Smith school district. Wild fact, IMO:

NWA'S FOURTH WAVE WILL COME FROM:

1. Wal-Mart, as Chinese nationals come to NWA as vendors, and as the company becomes truly a global one with future expansion into (places all targeted at one time or another) India, Russia, the Middle East (i.e. Israel), Africa and Australia. (Downside: despite China's incredible sales growth for W-M at this point in time, the vendors don't seem to have moved in yet. As for the other locations, with 1 or two exceptions they offer genuine growth opportunity but also the most instability, and W-M must tread lightly.)

2. The future nationwide I-49 network. By August, one should be able to drive from Greenwood, AR south of Fort Smith all the way to Winnipeg on uninterrupted four-lane roads, and on interstate-quality highway from the Jane/Noel, MO turnoff a few miles north of Macadoodle's all the way to Canada and/or Minneapolis/St. Paul. Work is already commencing on the Houston/Brownsville, TX interstate, and between Shreveport and Texarkana. Billionaire John Q. "51" Hammons is on record as saying he thinks NWA will be squarely in the middle of our previously discussed Canada-to-Kansas City-to-New Orleans/Mexico interstate, perhaps the primary such freeway in the U.S. someday...studies have been done saying Fort Smith will see incredible growth as a result, possibly allowing more intra-metro cooperation and opportunites between that city and NWA. (Downside: As our friend itk has reminded us, dreaming about it doesn't make it so. The most difficult part may be the Ashdown-to-Greenwood, AR section through the Ouachita mountains, and the funds for this may or may not materialize. This one will take much time if it ever happens.)

3. Future industry that we don't yet know about. Perhaps Rogers as a true regional "design center". Or Fayetteville as a true regional technology center. The seeds are possibly there. (Downside: This is the most speculative of the three.)

4. Forget the fourth wave, we're not finished with the third wave yet. As evidenced by 4 month waits by NWA patients to see medical specialists and 2 year waiting lists for NWA babies at local daycare centers...there's still a lot of business infrastructure to be caught up. And we still don't know the domino effects of certain things in store such as Crystal Bridges Museum and the new NWA naturals ballpark. (Downside: While there will undoubtedly be growth as a result of that it's hard to fathom it could ever be as strong as waves #1 and #2.)

5. Let's face it...NWA may grow but the days of incredible expansion circa 2002-2005 are over. Let's just deal with what we have and hope no one (read: local big companies) ever decides to move their headquarters.

NEXT WAVE Northwest Arkansas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Moderators, I don't know if we could do a poll based on today's article on the slowdown of NWA growth in the Demo-zette, but if we could, here's what I'd do. BTW, something that surprised me...the Rogers, AR school district, at this school year's end, has only about 400 less students than the Fort Smith school district. Wild fact, IMO:

NWA'S FOURTH WAVE WILL COME FROM:

1. Wal-Mart, as Chinese nationals come to NWA as vendors, and as the company becomes truly a global one with future expansion into (places all targeted at one time or another) India, Russia, the Middle East (i.e. Israel), Africa and Australia. (Downside: despite China's incredible sales growth for W-M at this point in time, the vendors don't seem to have moved in yet. As for the other locations, with 1 or two exceptions they offer genuine growth opportunity but also the most instability, and W-M must tread lightly.)

2. The future nationwide I-49 network. By August, one should be able to drive from Greenwood, AR south of Fort Smith all the way to Winnipeg on uninterrupted four-lane roads, and on interstate-quality highway from the Jane/Noel, MO turnoff a few miles north of Macadoodle's all the way to Canada and/or Minneapolis/St. Paul. Work is already commencing on the Houston/Brownsville, TX interstate, and between Shreveport and Texarkana. Billionaire John Q. "51" Hammons is on record as saying he thinks NWA will be squarely in the middle of our previously discussed Canada-to-Kansas City-to-New Orleans/Mexico interstate, perhaps the primary such freeway in the U.S. someday...studies have been done saying Fort Smith will see incredible growth as a result, possibly allowing more intra-metro cooperation and opportunites between that city and NWA. (Downside: As our friend itk has reminded us, dreaming about it doesn't make it so. The most difficult part may be the Ashdown-to-Greenwood, AR section through the Ouachita mountains, and the funds for this may or may not materialize. This one will take much time if it ever happens.)

3. Future industry that we don't yet know about. Perhaps Rogers as a true regional "design center". Or Fayetteville as a true regional technology center. The seeds are possibly there. (Downside: This is the most speculative of the three.)

4. Forget the fourth wave, we're not finished with the third wave yet. As evidenced by 4 month waits by NWA patients to see medical specialists and 2 year waiting lists for NWA babies at local daycare centers...there's still a lot of business infrastructure to be caught up. And we still don't know the domino effects of certain things in store such as Crystal Bridges Museum and the new NWA naturals ballpark. (Downside: While there will undoubtedly be growth as a result of that it's hard to fathom it could ever be as strong as waves #1 and #2.)

5. Let's face it...NWA may grow but the days of incredible expansion circa 2002-2005 are over. Let's just deal with what we have and hope no one (read: local big companies) ever decides to move their headquarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderators, I don't know if we could do a poll based on today's article on the slowdown of NWA growth in the Demo-zette, but if we could, here's what I'd do. BTW, something that surprised me...the Rogers, AR school district, at this school year's end, has only about 400 less students than the Fort Smith school district. Wild fact, IMO:

NWA'S FOURTH WAVE WILL COME FROM:

1. Wal-Mart, as Chinese nationals come to NWA as vendors, and as the company becomes truly a global one with future expansion into (places all targeted at one time or another) India, Russia, the Middle East (i.e. Israel), Africa and Australia. (Downside: despite China's incredible sales growth for W-M at this point in time, the vendors don't seem to have moved in yet. As for the other locations, with 1 or two exceptions they offer genuine growth opportunity but also the most instability, and W-M must tread lightly.)

2. The future nationwide I-49 network. By August, one should be able to drive from Greenwood, AR south of Fort Smith all the way to Winnipeg on uninterrupted four-lane roads, and on interstate-quality highway from the Jane/Noel, MO turnoff a few miles north of Macadoodle's all the way to Canada and/or Minneapolis/St. Paul. Work is already commencing on the Houston/Brownsville, TX interstate, and between Shreveport and Texarkana. Billionaire John Q. "51" Hammons is on record as saying he thinks NWA will be squarely in the middle of our previously discussed Canada-to-Kansas City-to-New Orleans/Mexico interstate, perhaps the primary such freeway in the U.S. someday...studies have been done saying Fort Smith will see incredible growth as a result, possibly allowing more intra-metro cooperation and opportunites between that city and NWA. (Downside: As our friend itk has reminded us, dreaming about it doesn't make it so. The most difficult part may be the Ashdown-to-Greenwood, AR section through the Ouachita mountains, and the funds for this may or may not materialize. This one will take much time if it ever happens.)

3. Future industry that we don't yet know about. Perhaps Rogers as a true regional "design center". Or Fayetteville as a true regional technology center. The seeds are possibly there. (Downside: This is the most speculative of the three.)

4. Forget the fourth wave, we're not finished with the third wave yet. As evidenced by 4 month waits by NWA patients to see medical specialists and 2 year waiting lists for NWA babies at local daycare centers...there's still a lot of business infrastructure to be caught up. And we still don't know the domino effects of certain things in store such as Crystal Bridges Museum and the new NWA naturals ballpark. (Downside: While there will undoubtedly be growth as a result of that it's hard to fathom it could ever be as strong as waves #1 and #2.)

5. Let's face it...NWA may grow but the days of incredible expansion circa 2002-2005 are over. Let's just deal with what we have and hope no one (read: local big companies) ever decides to move their headquarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NWA will continue to grow, but there won't be another "wave" of growth like we've seen in the past. Rogers being a "regional design center" and Fayetteville a "true regional technology center" won't create much growth on their own. The remaining attraction for growth will be the natural amenities that NWA has to offer, but it will be a game of catching up in all other areas of opportunity.

The article stated clearly that "decisions about infrastructure projects, sales tax increases and development impact fees will shape whether growth slows, trickles along or picks up its pace." The main deciding factor there is "sales tax increase," which we all know is not likely to happen with our new governor, Mike Beebe, working hard to eliminate the regressive sales tax on groceries. If and when that happens raising sales tax won't really apply to growth because groceries are the largest contributor to sales tax.

Without the increased revenue from sales tax there will be less funds for infrastructure projects so infrastructure improvements won't contribute to increased growth. That leaves impact fees and that's a touchy subject since many believe impact fees can cripple developments, although that has not been proven to be true or false.

Bottom Line:

What then will contibute to NWA's future growth? Advertising. NWA already has a lot to offer people who are frustrated with rising costs of living, crime and congestion in other parts of the country. With the addition of the Naturals minor league baseball team and the Crystal Bridges museum there will be a lot of potential for people to be drawn to NWA, but not without advertising. There will continue to be job growth via employers like Wal-Mart, Tyson and the U of A, but that won't be a strong enough decision maker for people looking for somewhere to move that offers plenty of amenities they're used to without all the negative aspects they're trying to escape from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WalMart's future = NWA's future.

If WalMart's China franchise becomes a monster, we will see another "wave."

Or if another Fortune 1000 company moved in from another area

(I've actually wondered if that could ever happen, say if one of WalMart's larger vendors ever looks to

move, but I'll go with slim chance on that).

But probably not otherwise.

I also can't see WalMart ever moving it's HQ's out of Arkansas.

I know the positives for them are there, but I think they know what they mean to this area,

and call me naive, but I think that will atleast play in our favor if rumblings of a move ever do come up.

Every influential person this state has ever produced would be doing everything in there power to keep it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WalMart's future = NWA's future.

If WalMart's China franchise becomes a monster, we will see another "wave."

Or if another Fortune 1000 company moved in from another area

(I've actually wondered if that could ever happen, say if one of WalMart's larger vendors ever looks to

move, but I'll go with slim chance on that).

But probably not otherwise.

I also can't see WalMart ever moving it's HQ's out of Arkansas.

I know the positives for them are there, but I think they know what they mean to this area,

and call me naive, but I think that will atleast play in our favor if rumblings of a move ever do come up.

Every influential person this state has ever produced would be doing everything in there power to keep it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with what you said about Wal-Mart, but other than job growth Wal-Mart has little or nothing to do with drawing people outside of vendors to NWA. Wal-Mart doesn't contribute to NWA's quality of life much at all and even hinders some things like having other grocery store and discount chains branch into NWA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought about what would happen if Sam hadn't gone to NWA, if he'd stayed in Newport or Oklahoma or Kansas. Ft Smith would probably still be a more relevant area than NWA and "NWA" probably wouldn't mean anything, really. People would still refer to the area as "Fayetteville" and Benton Co would have no more than 50,000 residents. It's kind of amazing the kind of impact Wal-Mart had on the area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I don't like to deal in "what ifs." What ifs can be applied to any city or metro in the country, not just NWA. Wal-Mart's impact on NWA has been to create jobs which in turn has brought in a lot of people to NWA, but Wal-Mart's job growth is no longer the primary reason people are still moving here. Many have no ties to Wal-Mart and merely move here to seek a better life than what they're leaving behind. Any metro's growth will always depend on good job growth, but job growth alone won't keep people moving here. Amenities like the Naturals and Crystal Bridges will keep them coming and getting rid of the regressive grocery tax will lend a boost to growth in NWA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All of Arkansas would benefit from getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with higher property taxes. It's a big lure for corporate relocations and keeps local companies in-state. Texas, Tennessee, and Florida benefit from this. A few years ago LR almost lured Fidelity to relocate its corporate HQs but didn't do so largely because Florida has no income tax.

Still, I think jobs determine where people live. I know people from Louisiana and Florida that moved to NWA and never imagined they would live there. They moved for jobs. For business majors and MBAs you're often pressed to go where you have your best offer, especially if you don't live in a major metro like DFW, Houston, or Atlanta.

I agree, though, that the livability of the area will be helped by things like Crystal Bridges and a AA baseball team. People moving to the area will be less turned off by a perceived lack of culture. Still, they won't look at the area in the first place unless someone's calling them about a job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if we will see a 4th wave.

I think Fayetteville will continue to grow steadily just because of its quality of life draw.

Springdale may stop growing or even start to shrink, especially if immigration is scaled back and/or the immigrant-heavy construction industry stays slow.

Rogers and Bentonville still have some catching up to do and I don't forsee lay-offs at Wal-Mart. Surely a trickle of new vendor jobs will remain for several more years to come.

As for a new "wave", I can't see it right now. I think its a good thing, and maybe this area's infrastructure can finally start to catch up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw this little piece about Wal Mart on the front page of UP.

Is Wal-Mart finally hitting a Brick Wall?

Wal-Mart is planning to scale back the number of new super centers to be built next year and the coming years due to market saturation,merchandise, missteps, and sagging sales performance at existing stores.

So are these the beginning signs that Wal-Mart has has gotten as big as it will ever get or is this just merely a bump on a road to even higher levels of power, glory, and, domination?

Hopefully it's just a bump...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw this little piece about Wal Mart on the front page of UP.

Is Wal-Mart finally hitting a Brick Wall?

Wal-Mart is planning to scale back the number of new super centers to be built next year and the coming years due to market saturation,merchandise, missteps, and sagging sales performance at existing stores.

So are these the beginning signs that Wal-Mart has has gotten as big as it will ever get or is this just merely a bump on a road to even higher levels of power, glory, and, domination?

Hopefully it's just a bump...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NWA will continue to grow by doing more trade with other nearby metros. Within a few hours drive you have Joplin, Springfield/Branson, Little Rock, Ft. Smith, and Tulsa. All of these areas are seeing very steady growth. It is a combined area of 3+ million people. If NWA will build the infrastructure to link itself with these areas with good highways, it would essentially be a hub of trade activity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of future growth, this reminded me of something I read earlier in the week in the Northwest Arkansas Times. Looks like a NWA Political Action Committee is being set up. It's main goal will be to use the area's economic strength to further boost the area. It also talked about how PACs are rather common nowadays and that it was probably about time for NWA to try to do something along this route as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites



  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.