LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- It's been another busy week in the Natural State. LanceTurner has your Arkansas Business Week in Review.

It was a week that saw a guilty plea from a prominent northwest Arkansas real estate developer.

On Wednesday, Brandon Barber in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, agreeing to plead guilty to three federal counts relating to schemes tied to banking and real estate fraud in the region.

Barber, 37, pleading guilty conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering. This, in exchange for the court dismissing 24 other counts against him.

Barber also agreed to cooperate with investigators and possibly testify in court against others allegedly involved in the scheme.

Barber has been in the Washington County jail for more than a month after his bond was revoked for repeatedly violating the terms of his release. He was arrested and charged in the case in March.

There are two trials pending against others involved in the case. Barber will likely be sentenced after those trials.

Also this week: more layoffs. This time, at Entergy Corp., which announced on Tuesday plans to cut 800 jobs companywide.

In Arkansas, the utility plans to cut 165 jobs -- about 6 percent of the company's 3,500 workers here.

President and CEO Hugh McDonald says most of the cuts will come from management, but will vary by state and company division.

Entergy also announced second-quarter earnings on Tuesday that were off 55 percent from the same quarter last year.

But there was also some good news, laying the foundation for future business here in Arkansas.

A group of business leaders on Tuesday announcing the Argenta Innovation Center -- a 15,000-SF space designed to give local entrepreneurs a place to build their ideas and create new companies around technology and engineering.

The project is driven by the innovation hub's capital campaign committee, which is working to raise $2.5 million to purchase and renovate the building.

So far, the committee has received pledges for about half the money it needs. It hopes to have the center up and running by spring.

The center is located in a building that once housed a police substation, sitting just a block off Main Street in downtown North Little Rock.

Across the river, meanwhile, 84 new upscale apartment units are headed to Little Rock.

Moses Tucker Real Estate announcing plans Thursday to redevelop the old Arkla Gas building at the corner of East Capitol and River Market avenues into upscale apartments by spring 2015.

The $13 million project will be called MacArthur Commons. Moses Tucker, along with AMR Architects and Central Construction Group, both of Little Rock, are building the apartments citing "strong demand" for housing in downtown, particularly the River Market. Construction is set to begin in the first quarter of next year.

Also finally: a prominent Arkansas businesswoman stepping down as CEO of the company she founded.

Aromatique Inc. of Heber Springs said Patti Upton is no longer president and CEO. In her place, Chad Evans will be president and chief operating officer; Stephen Lawrence will be vice chairman and CEO.

Upton expressed confidence in the company's newly appointed leadership. The Upton family will remain a stockholder in Aromatique.

Upton started the multimillion-dollar business, which makes household decorative fragrances, in 1982.

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