The owner of one of Arkansas’ oldest privately owned independent insurance agencies is investing in downtown Fayetteville to establish a second location.
Roberts Lee, principal of Meadors Adams & Lee (MAL) in downtown Little Rock, recently closed a $1.35 million deal to buy a 3,686-square-foot building at 109 N. Block Ave. in downtown Fayetteville.
The listing agent was Anthony Smith with United Country NWA Real Estate in Fayetteville. Jackson Williams with Griffin Co. Commercial in Springdale represented the buyer.
Bob’s Studio of Photography was the most recent tenant.
Lee said he carefully considered several Northwest Arkansas locations before settling on an investment in downtown Fayetteville.
“We will be equally as thoughtful about how we develop that location,” he said. “We view Block Street as a special location and Fayetteville as a special place. We want to be very thoughtful about what goes there. And we want it to be a complement to Fayetteville.”
He said building a talent pipeline with University of Arkansas graduates will be a critical factor in the Fayetteville office’s growth strategy. MAL has 41 employees.
“We’re all in on the U of A,” Lee said.
There is yet to be a timeline for opening the new office. Lee said it would be developed as a mixed-use building.
“We’re not going to get in a hurry,” he said. “We’re going to do it right. We’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of people wanting to be part of it.”
MAL has been selling insurance since 1909, when it was formed as the Campbell Agency by Gordon H. Campbell.
Allan Meadors and Jake Adams are the modern-era principals, and the name changed to Meadors and Adams Inc. in 1985. Lee, who joined the agency in 1998, became a principal in 2005, and the agency rebranded to Meadors Adams & Lee. Lee has been the sole owner since 2016.
“[Meadors and Adams] mean a lot to me and the legacy of the company means a lot to me,” Lee said. “The only way for me to get value out of the company is to grow it. I’m 51, and time’s wasting. I’ve got to get to work on it.”