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Economic Development

Little Rock River Market

The Economic Development Office plans and administers Economic Development strategy to expand existing businesses and attract new businesses, which will provide job opportunities and expand economic growth within the City of Little Rock. Little Rock is a center for several major employers in a variety of industries including healthcare, service, government and agriculture.

Little Rock, population 193,524, is located in the center of the country and in the second fastest-growing region of the United States, with 40% of the nation’s population and buying power within a 550-mile radius. Little Rock is where ‘America Comes Together’ – located at the crossroad of Interstate 30 and the most heavily traveled Interstate in the nation, Interstate 40.

Competitive wages and Arkansas’ right-to-work environment provide an excellent workforce environment for businesses. Twenty-eight (28) Fortune 500 companies operate within the Little Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Little Rock National Airport, less than three (3) miles from downtown, is Arkansas' largest commercial service airport, serving approximately 2.1 million passengers annually. The airport attracts passengers from a large part of Arkansas, as well as a number of surrounding states. There are more than 120 flight arrivals and departures at Little Rock each day, with non-stop jet service to thirteen (13) national and international gateway cities, making Little Rock truly one stop away from the world. Little Rock National is served by American Eagle, Continental Express, Delta, Delta Connection, Northwest, Northwest Airlink, Southwest and US Airways Express. The Little Rock National Airport is operated by the Airport Commission, whose members are appointed by the Little Rock City Board of Directors.

The Arkansas River runs past downtown Little Rock and is part of the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System, one of the largest projects of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The system provides a 448-mile navigation channel for barge traffic from the Mississippi River northwest to fifteen (15) miles east of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Port of Little Rock, on the Arkansas River is a designated Foreign Trade Zone and a United States Customs Point of Entry. This status allows goods to be stored and processed there without custom duties or bonds being paid until products are finished and sold, or moved out of zone.

The City of Little Rock has seen a steady increase in economic development activities, which is due in large part to an active private sector and the strong leadership of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. In addition, manufacturing, transportation and service sector employment are growing at a steady rate. Little Rock is one of the top fifteen (15) aggressive development markets in the nation and has doubled in the past thirty (30) years, with projections indicating it will double again in during the next twenty (20) years.

Government leaders are committed to retaining, creating and expanding job opportunities for the service, retail and industrial sectors of the community. As a result of this commitment, Little Rock is experiencing unprecedented development and expansion in the downtown corridor. Since 1994, projects totaling $968,579,951 have been completed in the downtown area, with $175,894,720 worth of projects in progress and an additional $194 million worth of proposed projects. The River Market has resulted in new businesses throughout the River Market District, including a $7.5 million renovation and development of the Museum Center Building, which houses the Museum of Discovery, restaurants and commercial information technology enterprises. In addition, the $165 million William J. Clinton Presidential Center opened its doors in November 2004, and since opening, the Center has hosted over 300,000 visitors.

The City’s Economic Development Office administers local ‘Advantage Arkansas’ Programs and visits businesses to determine eligibility for the former Enterprise Zone Program to secure endorsements of various businesses regarding economic development programs, zoning requirements, special tax provisions and related economic incentives and information. In addition, the Economic Development Office serves as the City’s representative for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Briefing Center, analyzes new business proposals, prepares developer packages and presents information to encourage business location. Decommissioning closely with this office is the Office of Minority Economic Development was established in 1994 as a result of FUTURE Little Rock.

Other Sources for Economic Development Information:

For More Information

James Jones
Assistant City Manager
500 West Markham Street, Room #203
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 371-4510

The City of Little Rock The City of Little Rock

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