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Infrastructure work tops $1 million mark: RAM Industries requires March 1 completion deadline for construction.

RAM Industries Requires March 1 Completion Deadline for Construction

MORE THAN $1 MILlion in infrastructure work is scheduled at the new North Little Rock I-440 Industrial Park and must be completed by March 1 to meet the deadline of its first tenant.

Chuck Davis, director of research and development at the Little Rock engineering firm of Mayes Sudderth & Etheredge Inc., has been involved in industrial research and projects since 1974, and he says it was unusual for a tenant to be willing to wait for infrastructure to be built.

"Industries don't have time to wait," he says. "They are usually ready to move in quickly. RAM was willing to wait for us to put it together."

RAM Industries and its two subsidiaries made the first commitments to locate in the park, Davis says, and "most of the pieces fell into place" for the project once the lead tenant was secured. Critical to RAM's agreeing to locate in the park was completing infrastructure construction as quickly as possible.

"Although we're short-fused, we should be able to get them in fine," he adds.

Davis says the park has been designed to provide "plenty of power and water for anything."

"But primarily, from day one, the targeted industries are light to medium manufacturing operations that are environmentally clean," Davis says. "It's not suitable for primary manufacturing like steel factories."

In fact, Todd Larson, director of commerce and governmental relations for the City of North Little Rock, says the industrial park has been designed to look more like a business park. It will have underground utilities, lots of grass and special parking requirements to make it a more attractive industrial site.

Having underground utilities is usually preferred, Davis says, but most industrial parks don't.

"The down side is it costs a little extra to do that," he says.

Prime Industrial Location

Davis is optimistic about the project and says the park can be filled in three to five years.

"It's a prime industrial project in a perfect location," he says. "It doesn't get any better than this.

"You read about a ton of prime industrial parks available," Davis says, "but a lot of time they're just bean fields. Until this was put together, there was not much to sell. There's lots of interest about moving into the park."

Davis has worked on dozens of industrial park projects, but he says this one is unique because of the public cooperation with the private sector. Private property owners, represented by The Hathaway Group, had 300 acres and donated 55 acres to the North Little Rock Industrial Development Corp. to launch the effort.

"It's a rare instance where everybody gains," Davis says. "And they did what they're supposed to: Create industry that creates jobs.

Project Has Four Phases

The plat for the project is divided into four phases, the first of which is owned by the Industrial Development Corp. and the City of North Little Rock. The city and federal grant funding is for development of Phase 1 only, Larson says, but development of the remaining three will be less costly because roads and primary utility lines already will be in place.

Grant funding was critical to the success of the project, Larsen says, and it was coordinated through the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District and the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The total grant was for $776,000, with federal matching funds of $465,600 amounting to 60 percent of the total.

The $310,400 in local funds included $14,000 from the NLR Industrial Development Corp., $70,000 from the NLR Wastewater Commission and $226,400 appropriated by the city. Electrical work that will be done by the NLR Electric Department could not be included as part of the matching grant funding.

Danco Construction Co. of North Little Rock submitted the low bid for road construction work, and Larson says he's glad a local firm will be working on the project. The park will have a mile of paved highway constructed from property on the southwest corner to the northern boundary.
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Title Annotation:North Little Rock Industrial Park
Author:Hankins, Jeff
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Aug 23, 1993
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