Major Indusrial/Manufacturing Park Planned for West Memphis, Ark.

West Memphis could get a big boost if negotiations for a major industrial park are successful.

A private developer is considering launching a 250- to 500-acre industrial park in West Memphis. It would be about a quarter mile from the Union Pacific Intermodal Rail Yard and near Marion's Hino Motors parts plant.

NAI Saig broker Van Spear has been working on the project for two years and said the parties are at a "crucial point in negotiations."

Spear said the park would likely be around 250 acres initially and could grow to 500 acres.

Earlier this summer, West Memphis officials approved tax increment financing (TIF) that will be dedicated to paying for infrastructure in the park.

"That's one of the things we had to get in place in order to develop the property," Spear said. "The funds are dedicated to the construction of the road and relocating a water line and extending sewer service."

The TIF is projected to raise an estimated $1.6 million based on 1 million square feet of warehouse development. The bonds would be paid off in 10 to 12 years, and sooner if more space is added.

Spear said the park would be a big project for West Memphis, which does not have a lot of Class A industrial space. The small amount it does have is owner occupied.

The park would give companies an option to lease high-quality space in West Memphis, but Spear says few if any buildings will be added speculatively.

Colliers Wilkinson and Snowden president Dan Wilkinson said the success of the Union Pacific terminal could attract some companies that would otherwise go to Memphis.

"There will be some people who are probably getting their product brought into the West Memphis intermodal center and shipped to Memphis who will say we can save money by being physically next door," Wilkinson said. "It will impact what's going on over here."

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