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by Paul Gatling NWA Business Journal August 14th, 2023

Victor Fedeli and his economic development team sell the province of Ontario seven days a week throughout the world. This week, that endeavor brought Fedeli to Northwest Arkansas.

Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development, a cabinet position under Premier Doug Ford, is one of Ontario’s high-level government and business leaders in Bentonville this week leading a trade mission to Arkansas.

“Triple the Trade” convened Monday morning (Aug. 14) at the Momentary in Bentonville. The name highlights the trade mission’s goal of increasing bilateral trade between Ontario — Canada’s largest and most influential province and the country’s economic engine, in many ways — and Northwest Arkansas from $2 billion to $6 billion by 2027.

“We can do this,” Fedeli said. “We’ve got so much in common between Arkansas and Ontario. Hell, I wear boots every day. I bought my first pair of western boots in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1992, and I have worn cowboy boots every single day of my life since I bought those.”

Fedeli is a lifelong entrepreneur, successful businessperson, author and philanthropist. He was elected for two terms as Mayor of North Bay, his hometown, from 2003 to 2010.

In 2011, he was elected to the Ontario Legislature and is now serving his third term as MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament) for Nipissing, a district in northeastern Ontario. Read more.


Matt Waller, dean emeritus at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, listens as Victor Fedeli discusses bilateral trade between Arkansas and the Canadian province of Ontario during a session of the "Triple the Trade" trade mission on Monday at The Momentary in Bentonville. Fedeli is Ontario's minister of economic development.

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by Paul Gatling NWA Business Journal June 27th, 2023

An ambitious economic development project in south Fayetteville was officially launched Tuesday (June 27) on South Cato Springs Road near Kessler Mountain Regional Park.

Dozens of civic leaders, elected officials and supporters gathered at South Cato Springs, a proposed mixed-use development, to mark a significant milestone — securing a $3 million federal grant and a matching $3.48 million grant from the city of Fayetteville. The funding will pay for the initial infrastructure work and bring city sewer services to the 230-acre site.

“The federal award secured by Congressman [Steve] Womack and the matching grant from the city is the essential spark for South Cato Springs and the future home of SLS Community,” Ashton McCombs IV said in his remarks Tuesday.

McCombs, 30, is the executive director of SLS (Supporting Lifelong Success) Community, a Fayetteville nonprofit focused on empowering neurodivergent adults with the necessary tools for growth and fulfillment.

Neurodiversity, also known as neurodivergence, encompasses individuals with autism, Down syndrome, or other variations in brain functioning that deviate from the neurotypical norm.

“To be clear, this is not a neurodivergent development,” McCombs said. “South Cato Springs is the venue where SLS will scale. The philosophical bent of this project is towards inclusion and understanding the relationship between neurodivergent adults and the broader community. We intend not to create an institution tucked away, hidden or isolated. It will be fully immersed in a live/work/play community that serves the whole region.” Read more.

by Paul Gatling NWA Business Journal June 27th, 2023

Focus Commercial Real Estate in Bentonville announced details on June 6 of a sizable acquisition in Wisconsin.

According to the company, Lok Safe Storage sold its self-storage portfolio in Green Bay for $34.2 million, which equals $72 per square foot.

Limited liability companies headed by Rogers businessmen Patrick Byrd and Alex Baumeister were the buyers. The investment group also owns five self-storage facilities in Sheboygan, Wis., totaling 232,625 square feet. Sheboygan is on Lake Michigan, about an hour south of Green Bay.

The Lok Safe deal includes 11 properties totaling 475,141 square feet.

Focus Commercial Real Estate President and Co-founder Butch Gurganus represented the buyers in the transaction.

“We are excited for our investment group to be part of this transaction and look forward to finding other value opportunities in Northwest Arkansas and throughout the country,” Gurganus said.

Marcus & Millichap closed the sale. Read more.

Storage Corridor

by Talk Business & Politics staff, NWA Business Journal April 19th, 2023

Bentonville firm Focus Commercial Real Estate has promoted Oksana DeMaris and Lindy Janes to principal.

Both have worked for the company since its launch in early 2021.

Focus is a full-service commercial real estate firm specializing in investment sales, tenant and landlord representation and property management.

Patrick Byrd and Butch Gurganus co-founded the company. Ramsay Ball is also a principal and executive broker.

Janes, the company’s director of property management, has over 17 years of commercial real estate experience. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and holds her real property administrator (RPA) designation.

Janes manages the largest office park in Northwest Arkansas, the 79-acre Beau Terre development. The 35-building, 383,000-square-foot  office park is off Interstate 49 in Bentonville, intersected by Arkansas Highway 72.

DeMaris, previously a brokerage associate, is a Northwest Arkansas native and a University of Arkansas graduate with a finance degree. She received the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation in 2022. Read more.

by Talk Business & Politics staff, NWA Business Journal April 19th, 2023

Two of Northwest Arkansas’ newest commercial real estate firms have merged.

Ramsay Ball, the principal broker at Cignus Real Estate in Bentonville, has joined Bentonville firm Focus Commercial Real Estate as a principal and executive broker. Khandice Baldwin (leasing and sales) and Mikayla Dietz (financial analysis) followed Ball from Cignus to join Focus’ brokerage department.

“I trust and respect these guys,” said Ball, speaking of Focus co-founders Patrick Byrd (CEO) and Butch Gurganus (president). Ball is a real estate executive and investor with 40 years of experience in Arkansas. His career started in 1983 in Little Rock, working for Barnes, Quinn, Flake and Anderson. In 2003, he moved to Northwest Arkansas and founded a company that became the Colliers Arkansas office in the region, where he was a principal and executive broker. He started Cignus in 2019.

Focus is a full-service commercial real estate firm specializing in investment sales, tenant and landlord representation and property management.

Byrd and Gurganus co-founded Focus in early 2021. With Ball, the three principals have combined experience of approximately 90 years working in the commercial real estate industry, and their professional expertise overlaps. Read more.

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