Oct 12, 2021 - Business
Meet Arkansas' office of the future: Ledger
photo of ledger
Yes, I rode that exterior elevator up to the top. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

I put on a hard hat and took a tour of the under-construction Ledger in downtown Bentonville on Friday. Now I’m ready to tell you all about the massive project that’s impossible to miss.

Why it matters: The flexible coworking space was planned before the pandemic, but it couldn’t come at a better time given changes in working habits. Mary Best, who’s on the operations and community team for the Ledger, called it the "evolution of the coffee shop worker."

  • It'll be a place that startups can use while getting their businesses off the ground, where self-employed and remote workers can rent office space, and where business people from out of town can get some work done.
  • Coworking space exists in Benton County, but not on this scale.

1 cool thing: Perhaps the most glaringly unique part of this building is that you can ride your bicycle up to any floor — including its in-building coffee shop.

  • If Bentonville is going to proudly be the "mountain biking capital of the world," then a workspace like this should celebrate the bike community, Best and developer Josh Kyles tell Axios.
photo of stadium seating inside ledger
Stadium seating on the sixth floor is in the works. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios
photo inside ledger
Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Details: The Ledger will be six stories and 230,000-square-feet with a bar and retail space. It will be able to accommodate about 1,500 workers at full capacity.

  • It will include a variety of offices, such as coworking space and private offices of different sizes.
  • Workers will not commit to leases. Instead, the building will be membership-based, allowing people to pay for day or month passes, Kyles says.

Unlike most office spaces only open to the people who work there, the Ledger will be community-oriented, Best says.

  • The space will be open to some ticketed events.
  • And the adjacent parking garage, a joint project between the Ledger and the city, will have an 80-foot mural painted on the side. (No, they wouldn't tell me what it'll be yet.)

Flashback: This was originally supposed to be a joint project between Kyles and WeWork, but WeWork is no longer involved.

What's next: The Ledger is expected to open summer 2022. It will at first only be open to a limited number of people to work out any kinks, Best says.

  • Also, I'm told there are a few more features up the Ledger's sleeve that the developers aren’t ready to share. Stay tuned.
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