One hundred million reasons to be happy

Maumelle Mayor Caleb Norris doesn’t think Tractor Supply Company putting a $100 million distribution center here is the city’s biggest economic news ever but that’s just because “ever” is such a big word.

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“I have a feeling, and I wasn’t around at the time, but I have the feeling the announcement of Kimberly Clark coming to town was, perhaps the city’s biggest economic development news but Maumelle was a much, much smaller town then and it helped legitimize the area in a way but this is a huge win for Maumelle.”

The Tractor Supply facility will be located in the city’s industrial park and will be 900,000 square feet. Construction, expected to start this summer, will cost $100 million and create 450 full-time new jobs when the building is completed at the end of next year.

“It really took years to get here,” Norris said. “A big part of this, what  made this property really competitive was the Entergy select site designation. We announced that a couple years back and that really sort of put this property on a much bigger stage to appeal to prospective purchasers.”

That process was headed up by Chris Murphy, a Senior Project Manager with Entergy Arkansas and Tandee White and it resulted in a “more efficient site due diligence process for Tractor Supply” Entergy said in a press release.

“We announced that a couple years back,” Norris said of the city’s partnership with Entergy that was announced in 2019. “That really sort of put this property on a much bigger stage to appeal to prospective purchasers.”

In fact, when the process of site selection began, Norris and Judy Keller, then head of economic development for the city, weren’t aware they were even dealing with Tractor Supply as it was codenamed “Project DS” as Maumelle worked with JLL, a firm that is described as specializing in “real estate and investment management.”

“We’ve known it was going to be Tractor Supply for a little while,” Norris said. “But we had been working on Project DS for far longer and competing against some other locations. We’re really glad that they chose us. Their company culture seems to fit with Maumelle.”

Norris said that the addition of Tractor Supply would be good for the other businesses in Maumelle.

“People got to eat,” he said. “So it is going to be huge for our restaurants. People buying breakfast. People buying lunch. Maybe buying dinner. People will need to buy gas. Maumelle is a great place to live, so maybe people who go to work there, buy homes in the city.

“So this is a win for everybody.”