A seven-figure land deal closed June 6 in Centerton, underscoring the continued growth of the former “bedroom” community west of Bentonville.
Sarah Sparks Diebold and her brother, William Sparks, paid $1.55 million ($4.80 per square foot) for seven commercial lots totaling 7.41 acres along Highway 102. The property is situated between the highway and the Copper Oaks neighborhood, west of Berkshire Road.
The investors made the purchase in the name of 3 States LLC.
In a statement e-mailed to Talk Business & Politics-Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, Sarah Sparks Diebold said Centerton’s growth provides a favorable environment for 3 States LLC to diversify and explore a variety of development opportunities. She said there are development plans, but could not disclose them.
“We look forward to being part of this flourishing community,” she wrote.
Charles Palmer was the land’s previous owner.
The Farmers and Merchants Bank of DeWitt in southeast Arkansas provided financing with a one-year mortgage of $1.16 million.
Jordan Jeter and Philip Schmidt with Flake & Kelley Commercial in Springdale brokered the deal. Jeter’s explanation of the growth in Centerton isn’t hard to explain.
“For me it’s simple,” he explained. “If you look at Google Earth on the map and you look at Bentonville, which is obviously one of the hottest markets, and where it’s growing and trying to grow, there’s a finite amount of space. Can’t grow east because of Rogers. And as the mountain range that comes down from the north in Bella Vista flattens out and comes down into Centerton, it’s flat and easy to build. And it’s cheaper.”
Bravis Marketing Agency, a Bentonville shopper and retail marketing firm formerly known as A.W. Bravis Retail Marketing, identified Centerton as a suitable spot for its new corporate office. Company officials, led by CEO Luke Bradshaw, broke ground May 19 on a new $2.9 million headquarters in the city. The 21,000-square-foot building — nearly doubling the size of the company’s current Bentonville headquarters — will be situated at 2025 W. Centerton Blvd., about one-and-a-half miles west of the Main Street intersection. Construction is expected to last about nine months.
Nick Jewett, chairman of Centerton’s planning commission, said building permit value in the city through May is up about 7% compared to the first five months of 2016.
Jeter, a veteran of the regional commercial real estate industry, noted other examples of the growing economy in Centerton.
The obvious driver is the population growth. The U.S. Census Bureau, in the latest data available, estimated Centerton’s population to be 12,861 as of July 1, 2016. That’s up 35% from April 2010 and a population of 9,515.
Another driver, Jeter said, is the 430,000-square-foot Bentonville West High School, an $86 million campus that just completed its first school year.
Springdale developer Rich Richardson, president of Can-Ark Diamond Realty Holdings LLC, is also staying busy in Centerton, with a multifamily project on Highway 102 that’s in the review process, and two large neighborhoods already in development to the north and west of BWHS totaling 467 single-family lots.
Commercial and residential permits in May had a combined value of $8.31 million, and residential permits were issued for eight subdivisions in the city.
“The subdivision game is back,” Jeter said. “And not just in Centerton. It doesn’t seem like it’s overbuilt to me. People are going to start cutting in new lots.”
Searcy-chartered First Security Bank and United Bank of Springdale are both building full-service branch locations on Highway 102. Starbucks recently opened across from a Walmart Neighborhood Market at the Greenhouse Road intersection, and a Taco Bell is under construction. Tulsa, Okla.-based restaurant chain Rib Crib is also under contract to purchase a lot for development, Jeter said.
“There are two other fast-food chains I’ve gotten calls from that are trying to find [land] out there,” he said. “There’s a lot happening on [Highway] 102 going out toward the high school.”
Further to the west, a local group of investors also recently closed on the purchase of bank-owned land along Highway 102 in Centerton.
FSSCL LLC acquired 60 acres at 18854 W. Highway 102, northwest of the Kitty Road intersection, west of Highway 279
First Western Bank in Rogers was the seller. The purchase price equals 0.33 cents per square foot.
FSSCL members include Britto Michaelsamy, Sundararajan Periasamy, Merlin Joe, Kannan Sundaramurthy and Prince Antony Michael Joseph.
Attempts to reach any of the buyers were not successful.