Tyson projects near end
Incubation Center, original headquarters work wrapping up
SPRINGDALE — Tyson Foods is close to completing two more downtown developments, and city leaders welcome the company’s continued investments in that part of the city.
“Downtown Springdale is where Tyson Foods began, so it’s important to the company and the Tyson family to invest in the downtown revitalization effort,” said Worth Sparkman, Tyson spokesman.
Construction is almost complete on Tyson’s new Incubation Center at the corner of East Huntsville Avenue and North Monitor Road. The $31 million center is expected to start operating before summer wraps up. Around 35 people will work there, Sparkman said.
The Incubation Center will feature 75,000 square feet of new construction. It will replace the company’s hatchery in Lincoln and the hatchery on Randall Wobbe Lane in Springdale, which has been in operation since the 1960s. The hatcheries in Lincoln and on Randall Wobbe Lane will no longer be operational, and the company is evaluating how those buildings will be used, Sparkman said.
Tyson’s original headquarters building, 319 E. Emma Ave., will have an even larger workforce with 275 to 300 employees on site. Construction is slated to be completed by either the end of summer or in the fall, Sparkman said.
Construction on the original headquarters building also will include work on the neighboring Brown Hatchery Building, 317 E. Emma Ave. Both buildings’ exteriors will maintain much of their original look, Sparkman said.
“Although the outsides will look much the same, the
interior is a complete renovation of the original buildings,” he said.
The original headquarters building and the Brown Hatchery Building are two of the three buildings that make up the Springdale Poultry Industry Historic District. The third building in the district is also a Tyson building at 316 E. Meadow Ave.
Preserving both buildings’ original facade is the right thing to do, Sparkman said.
“It helps reflect the legacy of our company, and it helps preserve the aesthetics for downtown Springdale,” he said.
“The new construction [at the headquarters building] adds more than 50,000 square feet. It’s essentially a new building on the inside, so the changes are significant,” Sparkman said.
Tyson hasn’t yet determined what types of staff will work in the original headquarters building. Tyson will spend “tens of millions of dollars” on the building’s renovation, Sparkman said.
Tyson is a welcome downtown presence, said Mayor Doug Sprouse.
“We are grateful of the investment Tyson Foods has made in our downtown and in the city as a whole,” Sprouse said. “From the beginning, they have been vocal supporters of our downtown revitalization efforts, and it truly has made a difference.”
Tyson employees working in the downtown area will enjoy the area’s amenities, Sprouse said.
Cameron Taylor, a bartender at The Odd Soul, a tavern that opened in March
at 126 W. Emma Ave., said the tavern’s clientele is a mix of blue- and white-collar workers and many are Wal-Mart and Tyson employees.
Tyson opened the Tyson JTL Building, 526 E. Emma Ave., last summer and about 100 employees work there. The almost 30,000-squarefoot building is used for office space, serves as the location of the company store and is designed to provide natural light and open areas to promote collaboration among staff. The company store sells Tyson items ranging from various chicken products to bacon and other foods. It’s open to Tyson employees and their families, Sparkman said.
“And we do service some discounted priced products to nonprofits in the area,” he said.
The JTL was built in the 1930s as a Jones Truck Line terminal and later was the home of The Springdale News and Orscheln Farm & Home store.
Tyson has made a concerted effort to improve the downtown with a $1 million gift to the Downtown Springdale Alliance in January 2015 and $750,000 to The Jones Center in October.
The alliance will use $100,000 for operating and programming costs the first three years of the gift. A majority of the $1 million gift will be used for “catalytic projects,” which includes park improvements and improvements to public spaces, Misty Murphy, former executive director of the Downtown Springdale Alliance, previously said.
Kelly Syer, alliance executive director, said Tyson’s downtown dedication is invaluable and its presence brings people and vitality to the area.
“Tyson being invested in the success of downtown Springdale is a win-win for everybody,” Syer said. “We really believe this is going to be an impetus for growth in Downtown Springdale.”
Tyson also sponsored the 41st annual Hogeye Marathon in April. The event was traditionally held in Fayetteville but was held in downtown Springdale for the first time, starting and finishing on Emma Avenue. The event will be held in Springdale next year.
“Tyson has a history of investing in Springdale; now they’ll have a large number of employees right in the thick of things, so it makes sense for them to be visible,” Syer said.
Construction continues Friday on a Tyson Foods facility which incorporates the company’s former headquarters built in 1920 and the Brown Hatchery Building in downtown Springdale.
The new Tyson Foods facility incorporates the company’s former headquarters (left) and the Brown Hatchery Building.
Construction continues Friday on a new Tyson Foods facility which incorporates the company’s former headquarters and the Brown Hatchery building in downtown Springdale.