Tyson projects near end

In­cu­ba­tion Cen­ter, orig­i­nal head­quar­ters work wrap­ping up

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - HICHAM RAACHE

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.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

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.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

The new Tyson Foods fa­cil­ity in­cor­po­rates the com­pany’s for­mer head­quar­ters (left) and the Brown Hatch­ery Build­ing.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Con­struc­tion con­tin­ues Fri­day on a new Tyson Foods fa­cil­ity which in­cor­po­rates the com­pany’s for­mer head­quar­ters and the Brown Hatch­ery build­ing in down­town Spring­dale.

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