LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Today's THV digs more into the Bass Pro Shops announcement and finds out how this deal came together.
We're told the deal happened after about two years of work by Little Rock city and business leaders. You may recall a prior effort for a North Little Rock site that failed over environmental concerns. Since then, Little Rock's pushed forward on alternate locations for Bass Pro Shops, finally "reeling in" a win this week.
It's a store known as an outdoor lover's dream. And now Arkansas fans will get to dream too.
"It's a big deal when it comes to branding and destination retail," Jay Chesshir said.
Jay Chesshir is President of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, one of the players involved in landing Bass Pro Shops to Little Rock near the intersection of Interstates 30 and 430 in these now dense woods.
"It began to move in earnest over the last six months after significant development of information that they were looking for in order to make a decision," Chesshir said.
He says information, like traffic counts along these interstates.
"Significant amount of traffic coming through here, number one," Chesshir said.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department reports 95,000 cars a day travel along I-30 between I-430 and the Ottercreek exit. And 96,000 cars a day travel on on the south end of I-430, between Highway 5 and I-30.
A strong base of shoppers was another draw for the company.
"You also have a Metro-region now that consists of more than a million people within 60-mile radius," Chesshir said.
And the site itself was a big draw.
"The ability to develop things around it while at the same time not having any issues that we're aware of from an environmental standpoint," Chesshir said.
"It's great, we're glad to land this big fish in the city," Mayor Mark Stodola said.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola talked with us by phone Friday while away in Florida. He joined the company on driving tours, exploring Little Rock sites.
"This site was a site we looked at early on, it carries some real options in working with Game and Fish foundation, perhaps the Bass Foundation," Mayor Stodola said.
They're potential opportunities, with that "dreamy one" already locked in.
We also asked about any tax incentives thrown the company's way and Chesshir says none at all in this case.
He also sees this store as a tourism draw, even for weekend travel. And he says that should spread to other area retail, making the store's impact even greater.
The developer for the project says the goal is start construction on the store this summer, and open late next year with 250 workers. There are also plans in the works for development nearby, including talk of an outlet mall and hotels. You can read more about that under THV's Lauren Clarks story.