The Friday Wire: Country club work and volleyball money

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 109 views 

A possible big gamble on a country club, an investment spark in downtown Fort Smith and the success of a Catholic school principal are part of the Nov. 8 Friday Wire for the Fort Smith region.

• Club money
Can they do it again?

That’s the question many have about Lance Beaty and Dr. Stephen Nelson, partners in FSM Redevelopment Partners. That’s the company that took a financial gamble on what has proven to be a successful makeover of the former Phoenix Village Mall property and is now considering at least a $7 million deal to acquire and renovate Fianna Hills Country Club in Fort Smith.

Beaty has confirmed he is working with club owners David Mille and Jim Shields on buying the club and 18-hole golf course. Both sides are in the due diligence phase, with a goal to close on a deal before the end of the year.

It could prove to be an interesting makeover for the more than 40-year-old property if the deal goes through.

• Downtown spark?
Speaking of interesting investments, Fort Smith businessman Steve Clark says renovation of the historic Friedman-Mincer building in downtown Fort Smith is on track, but that it is “impossible to fully appreciate” what it has taken just to get the structure to the point where architects and designers could begin work on renovation details.

The historic and white tiled Friedman-Mincer building – also known as the OTASCO building – at the intersection of Garrison Avenue and Towson Avenue in downtown Fort Smith was built in 1911. Clark announced in May he would restore the structure and move his Propak corporate offices to the building.

Let’s hope Clark’s progress continues and that it has a positive impact on the east end of Garrison Avenue in downtown Fort Smith.

Following are a few stories posted this week on The City Wire that we hope you didn’t miss. But in case you missed it …

• ‘Significant’ changes possible for Fianna Hills Country Club
The company that took a financial gamble on what has proven to be a successful makeover of the former Phoenix Village Mall property may soon invest at least $7 million in the acquisition and renovation of the Fianna Hills Country Club in Fort Smith.

• A Long Road Back
Former Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark details his long road back when he fell from grace after a felony conviction for theft of property while serving as AG in 1980.
According to Clark, the days following his conviction only seemed to emphasize the true weight and reality of the situation.

• Education dedication
Sharon Blentlinger is pretty much a rock star in the world of parochial schools. She has been at the helm of Immaculate Conception Elementary School's leadership for 27 years, after serving as a teacher there for nearly a decade.

$7 million: Initial estimate from FSM Redevelopment Partners on the cost to acquire and renovate the Fianna Hills Country Club in Fort Smith.

1,470: Number of homes sold in Crawford and Sebastian counties during the first 10 months of 2013, ahead of the 1,357 sold during the same period of 2012.

$176,072: Estimated economic impact to the Fort Smith regional economy from the teams gathering to play in the Heartland Conference volleyball tournament at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

100+: Number of GAP stores in which a t-shirt designed by Danielle Kling of Muldrow, a University of Arkansas at Fort Smith graphic design student, is being sold.

• Apple's new headquarters gains approval of Cupertino City Council
The Cupertino City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce the annual tax break it gives Apple (AAPL) — America's most valuable company by market capitalization, with a net income last year of $41.7 billion — by 15 percent. Having wrung that concession from its richest corporate resident, the council then voted unanimously to give its final blessing to Apple's proposed new headquarters. The spaceship-shaped building has now officially landed.

• A Dow Jones record
The Dow industrials closed above 16,000 for the first time on Thursday as stocks rebounded from three days of weakness, after economic data pointed to a slowly improving labor market and subdued inflation.

• A game changer
The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, in a historic and bitterly fought rule change, stripped Republicans on Thursday of their ability to block President Barack Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees.

“I applied for about 40 jobs. I have a pretty good resume, until you get to that part that says alcoholic and felon."
former Attorney General Steve Clark speaking about his journey from a rising political star to convicted felon to his pardon by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee to his current role as President and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

"It's a pretty big detail. That's a pretty big detail, when you're looking at alcohol sales and it looks like you're going to circumvent this board to do that. That's what it looks like to me."
Sebastian County Justice of the Peace Shawn Looper, addressing County Judge David Hudson during Tuesday's (Nov. 19) Quorum Court meeting about media reports that the Parks Advisory Board had discussed pursuing annexation of the golf course at Ben Geren Regional Park into the Fort Smith city limits

"Food pantries are starting to buckle. Each has only a certain level of support to give the community. Some are reducing the amounts of food they give. Others are reducing their hours. We've even had closures. Those with the ability to give to help are asked to help local food pantries with food, funds or volunteer help.”
Ken Kupchick, director of marketing and development for the River Valley Regional Food Bank, said about the rising demand for food support in the Fort Smith metro area