Report highlights the importance of commercial real estate to the economy
Commercial real estate remains a powerful force supporting the economic recovery in central Arkansas, part of a national trend that is expected to continue throughout this year.
These findings are provided by local research as well as national research that shows commercial and industrial facilities will remain the hottest product in real estate in 2022.
Colliers of Arkansas notes that 2021 ended with the Little Rock metro area industrial sector continuing to gain momentum throughout the year, which started with a vacancy rate of 10, 2% and ended at 5.8%.
“The industrial sector continues to tighten and outperform all other commercial sectors in Central Arkansas,” the Colliers team wrote in its fourth quarter report examining key real estate sectors including office and retail. . “The growing demand and lack of supply continue to strengthen asking rates and reduce the need for landlords to offer tenant concessions requested in previous years.”
This trend is true nationally. CBRE Group Inc. notes that the booming industrial sector is likely to continue this year. “We anticipate a banner year for commercial real estate investment,” the real estate and investment services firm reports in its outlook for U.S. real estate markets in 2022.
“On the heels of record transaction volume and rental growth amid extremely tight supply and strong demand, the industrial real estate market will remain very strong in 2022,” the report said.
In central Arkansas, interest in office and retail space has remained relatively flat since the 2021 opening. Vacancy rates in each sector have remained essentially flat comparing the findings of Colliers in the first quarter of the year with those of the last quarter.
The office vacancy rate, for example, was 15.2% in the first quarter and rose slightly to end the year at 15.7%. Office space outside of downtown Little Rock – including Little Rock neighborhoods and nearby towns such as Cabot, Conway and Sherwood – had declined slightly, although areas such as West Little Rock and Riverdale are booming and “remain in high demand for office space,” Colliers said in his report.
The retail vacancy rate was 16.5% in the first quarter of 2021 and ended the year at 16.1% and investment in the sector is in high demand at the start of this year.
“The pandemic continues to create unpredictability in the market, both nationally and locally,” reports Colliers. “However, given where we have been over the past 24 months in terms of anomalies in vacancy rates and rental rates, we are starting to see some stabilization in rental rates and appear to be moving past vacancy spikes. “
Average retail space rental rates in Southwest Little Rock increased the most from start of the year to close and the area was on par with rates in West Little Rock in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Colliers of Arkansas has offices in Little Rock and Rogers. The commercial property management company has sales of more than $553 million and total leases of more than $163 million in the state.
IMPROVE STAFF HEALTH
The US Department of Agriculture will distribute approximately $1 million to improve the health and well-being of rural workers in four Arkansas counties: Mississippi, St. Francis, Phillips and Chicot.
Federal funds have been targeted for rural communities because residents there have higher rates of chronic diseases, health risk factors and other health-related disparities.
The program, known as Project SHARE (Supporting Health Advances for Rural Employees), aims to reach up to 20 employers or workplaces, 100 employer managers, 4,000 employees and up to 16,000 family members in the area.
Winrock International is leading the Arkansas effort with other partners including the New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University, the Arkansas Community Health Worker Association and the Community Health Centers of Arkansas.
“A healthy workforce is an essential component of overall economic development,” said Linsley Kinkaide, senior director of US programs for Winrock. “This project fosters a culture of health in our existing industries, promotes improved health for our residents, and creates opportunities for employees and employers.”
All four Delta counties rank in the bottom 10% of Arkansas for outcomes and health factors.
THIN CHICKENS BREAK
Fayetteville-based Slim Chickens was recognized as one of the hottest brands of the year in the fast-casual restaurant industry.
QSR magazine, which covers the foodservice industry, claims Slim Chickens is the industry’s ‘Brand of the Year’ for 2021. Slim Chickens now has 150 stores and aims to reach 600 by 2025.
The company has been recognized for its growth, fueled by the help of financial partners who invested in 2019. Franchise development accelerated with the investment, company officials said.
Slim Chickens says it opened a record 23 stores in 2019, another 19 in 2020 and grew another 40 last year. Same-store sales have increased 14% in each of the past two years.
Little Rock’s Revolution Plastics also brings brand news – the recycling and manufacturing company says all product offerings are under the Revolution brand.
The company manufactures plastic films containing up to 100% recycled resin for several industries, including agriculture, construction and catering. Revolution develops certified recycled resin, creates custom closed-loop recycling programs for businesses, and recovers and recycles plastic waste.
“The rapid and continued growth of our company necessitated this transition to a single, cohesive and collaborative brand,” said Sean Whiteley, CEO of Revolution. “Unifying our business entities under one identity will allow us to more effectively deliver a unified message by championing solutions that empower everyone to contribute to a more sustainable future.”
The company uses a proprietary circular approach to plastic wrap that recovers, recycles and manufactures products, all in its own facilities.
More information is available at revolutioncompany.com.
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