Ledger office building debuts this month in downtown Bentonville

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 8,545 views 

The world’s first bikeable office building is nearing the finish line in downtown Bentonville.

After two years of construction — and there is still work left to do — the 230,000-square-foot mixed-use Ledger building will soon partially open at 240 S. Main St.

Mary Best, the building’s operations director, said Ledger will invite members to begin working in the building starting Oct. 17. There are several types of membership tiers offered by Ledger, varying in length and amenities. Best said Ledger has about 150 members who can start working in the building this month.

“We will start opening to the public for bookable spaces starting in November and event spaces starting in January,” Best said. She said Ledger is planning an open house in December.

Ledger will offer flexible, on-demand and traditional workspaces for tenants from corporate offices, flex startups and growth-stage companies. There’s been no announcement yet about companies who have signed lease agreements for office space, but there will be a tourism element to the Ledger, at least temporarily.

Walmart announced Friday (Oct. 7) that The Walmart Museum will relocate to the Ledger while the original museum two blocks north on the downtown square undergoes a renovation. Walmart expects the renovation work to last until the spring of 2024.

The temporary Museum at The Ledger will open in the building’s lobby on Nov. 1.

“Our temporary space at The Ledger has presented us with an incredible opportunity to provide visitors with a unique and curated experience,” Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart’s senior vice president of corporate real estate, wrote in a blog post.

Bentonville nonprofit Downtown Bentonville Inc. is also planning an event inside Ledger later this month to celebrate its 20th anniversary. “A Celebration of 20 Eventful Years,” a ticketed affair hosted by Tom and Steuart Walton, is scheduled for Oct. 25. A VIP reception will start the event from 4-5 p.m., followed by the general reception with a presentation and remarks, live music, hors d’oeuvres and building tours. Ticket information is available on DBI’s 20th anniversary website.

A handful of companies have announced plans to lease retail space inside Ledger, including Airship Coffee, high-end bike manufacturer Specialized Bicycle Components of California and Mertins Eye & Optical of Fayetteville. Best referred questions about those specific opening dates to the companies.

Airship owner Mark Bray said he does not have a specific date.

“I know there’s some finish work like cabinets and countertops scheduled for the last week of November, and after that, we’ll be installing equipment,” Bray said. “So, the end of the year, or shortly after that, seems possible at this point.”

Alan Spann, Ledger’s property operations manager, expects a timeline for those retailers’ move-in dates to firm up in mid-November.

Ledger’s most discussed, visible design element is community-centric. The six-story exterior design incorporates a 3,900-linear-foot bikeable and walkable path. The zig-zag switchback pattern facing South Main Street provides direct outdoor entry on every floor, with terraces allowing open-air access.

Marlon Blackwell Architects of Fayetteville, Michel Rojkind, Christian Callaghan and Haruka Horiuchi collaborated on the building design. Bentonville firm HFA provided MEP engineering, civil engineering, surveying and permitting services for building and site design.

Nabholz Construction of Rogers is overseeing the construction with a building permit valued at $51.6 million. That amount does not include the construction of Ledger’s detached, eight-story parking garage with approximately 500 spaces. The first floor will be reserved for public use.

Engineering Consultants Inc. of Lowell provided structural engineering services and served as structural engineer-of-record for the building and associated parking deck.

Cushman & Wakefield/Sage Partners in Rogers will lease and manage the project. Sage Partners is the property management and leasing division of Hunt Ventures in Rogers, led by billionaire developer and philanthropist Johnelle Hunt.

Bentonville developer Josh Kyles is the landowner (1.74 acres) and leads Ledger’s development team.

“Our goal from day one was to provide Bentonville with a Class A workplace that goes beyond just an office building to connecting directly with the growing community in Northwest Arkansas,” Kyles told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal in late September. “The Ledger will be a business and community hub serving as the entrepreneurial heart of Northwest Arkansas.”