Watch: A conversation on the future of Northwest Arkansas
On Tuesday, June 8, Axios NW Arkansas reporters Alex Golden and Worth Sparkman discussed the future of the region, looking at housing development, local post-pandemic recovery and the impact on the community, featuring Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) and University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research director Mervin Jebaraj.
Rep. Steve Womack discussed negotiations between President Biden and Republicans over the infrastructure bill, underscoring the importance of bridges and roads.
- On Republican priorities for the bill: "The administration is going have to come to the table and agree that if we're going to get an infrastructure bill out, we're going to need to make sure that it primarily deals with what we believe is traditional infrastructure, and that's roads and bridges, moving people, water, wastewater."
Mervin Jebaraj unpacked economic trends in the region, as well as the housing and commercial real estate market.
- On real estate trends: "We haven't seen a whole lot of softness in the lease rates for commercial space so far, with vacancy rates staying fairly level...We've seen materials prices go up across the board that has been before. The pandemic was already an issue with labor supply. So we're expecting to continue to see higher lease rates, especially for the nicely finished out spaces."
Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Runway Group co-founder Steuart Walton who discussed the economic potential in Northwest Arkansas.
- "We're long on northwest Arkansas as a place to invest and we're really excited about the potential here. In that region is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, but people might not know it because it's a sort of a collection of small and midsize towns."
Thank you Northwest Arkansas Council for sponsoring this event.