Ohio firm buys former Walmart distribution center in Fort Smith, new tenant may soon be named

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 4,477 views 

Ed Harmon is expanding his warehouse and logistics footprint in Fort Smith with the acquisition of the 236,000-square-foot former Wal-Mart Distribution Center at 8100 S. Zero St. Walmart announced in January 2018 it would close the facility, which at the time had fewer than 100 workers.

Harmon, CEO of Toledo, Ohio-based NAI Harmon Group, told Talk Business & Politics his total investment in the property will be between $8.5 million and $9 million, and that he soon hopes to announce a tenant.

“We will be bringing in a tenant with employees to build jobs in this area,” Harmon said, adding that he is working under a confidentially agreement and can’t discuss who the tenant is, how many jobs, or if the tenant will occupy the entire building.

According to the Sebastian County Assessors Office the property does not yet show a transaction amount. Sale of the property took 18 months to complete and included Ghan & Cooper Commercial Properties and Arvest Bank, according to a press release from the Harmon Group.

The deal is Harmon’s third in Fort Smith, with the first going back to October 2013 when he – through Spartan Logistics – acquired a portion of Whirlpool’s large warehouse facility near the manufacturing plant. In 2014, Spartan bought the entire 619,508-square-foot warehouse facility and about 54 acres it occupies. Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool Corp. closed the refrigerator manufacturing plant in June 2012, which at the time employed about 1,000, but was home to more than 4,500 jobs at its peak.

One of the tenants for the former Whirlpool warehouse building is now Furniture Factory Outlet. The company in July 2015 moved its headquarter operations to the site from a location in Muldrow, Okla.

Harmon in January 2016 acquired the 423,000-square-foot Riverside warehouse operation located near the former Whirlpool manufacturing plant. Harmon at the time said the building was acquired for around $8.5 million and the company would likely spend $850,000 on remodeling and renovations. After the Riverside deal, Harmon told Talk Business & Politics his investment in Fort Smith was about $20 million.

With the Walmart deal, Harmon has an estimated 1.279 million square feet under roof in Fort Smith.

According to NAI, the company completes in excess of $20 billion in commercial real estate transactions throughout the world and has more than 400 branch offices and manages more than 425 million square feet of property.