70-Store Shopping Center to Bring Jobs to River Valley

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An outdoor shopping center in Barling is expected to bring 700 jobs to the River Valley.

On Friday (June 28) officials with the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority signed paperwork to bring a 70-store  to the intersection of Highways 59 and 22.

The 90 acres of land were purchased for about $2 Million by real estate agents out of Hot Springs who partnered with a Dallas mall developer.

"This is right at the end of I-49, where I-49 traffic will get off at Highway 22, so it's a natural place to build a mall and a natural place for people to go," said Ivy Owen, executive director of the FCRA. "So I think it's going to be a great beginning for Barling and I think it's just the beginning for what's going to happen to Barling."

The development is expected to be an outdoor shopping mall similar to the Fort Smith Pavilion or Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers with stores and restaurants.

The possible sale of this land seemed uncertain for a while after laws prevented alcohol sales in Barling. But Owen says this didn't dissuade the developers.

"The liquor-by-the-drink issue didn't deter them,” he said. “They went ahead a closed with or without alcohol sales. So it's a great day."

Owen expects the developers to break ground on the mall in the next 90 days. Information about which stores and restaurants will be located in the new center will be released over the next few months.