Fayetteville council green-lights land sale to local screen printing company

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

FAYETTEVILLE — The city will sell at least one piece of public land in the Commerce District to longtime local screen printing company B-Unlimited.

City Council members on Tuesday voted 7-0 to approve a resolution of intent to sell a 17.5-acre parcel off City Lake Road in what’s sometimes referred to as the city’s industrial park. B-Unlimited will have an option to purchase approximately 12.6 more acres for $18,000 per acre within 12 months of closing on the first property.

B-Unlimited needs the space to expand, said Devin Howland, the city’s economic vitality director.

The company was founded in 1994 and later acquired by Ben Clark. It has since grown from producing apparel for one university-based client in Fayetteville to serving 250 college campuses across the country. In 2020, the company merged with JCG Apparel and expanded to six retail locations throughout the Southeastern Conference area. From 2016 to 2019 B-Unlimited was named to the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States, Howland said.

A maps shows the two parcels of city-owned land that Fayetteville plans to sell to B-Unlimited.

City of Fayetteville

The company currently employs over 250 people, with about 180 of those jobs located in Fayetteville. Howland said 30 of those local jobs are full-time artists, which makes B-Unlimited one of the largest private employers of full-time artists in the city.

Howland said his department has been working with Clark for several months on finding a place for the business to construct a new headquarters, which is currently located on South School Avenue.

The extra space will allow B-Unlimited to hire another 50 people over the next three years, which would bring the company’s annual payroll up to $9.5 million.

Taylor Shelton, chief economic development officer with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the proposal on Tuesday. He said the chamber is especially excited about any project that could boost the city’s creative economy.

The site is bordered by Black Hills Energy Arkansas Inc. to the east, Hog Box to the south, a privately held parcel to the west, and city-owned Commerce District land to the north.

Flyer staff photo

“We really look forward to seeing this succeed,” Shelton said.

Council Member Teresa Turk requested an inventory of the trees on the property before any official land sale contract is brought back to the council. Howland said he’ll ask the city’s urban forestery division to get started on that immediately.

Howland also said the city plans to place a conservation easement on about 13 acres of some adjacent city property to the east which has a large patch of older trees.

Council Member Sloan Scroggin said he likes the idea and thinks the council should do what it can to help the longtime local business expand, but he’d like to see the appraisal of the property before the land sale is completed.

Since Tuesday’s action was only a resolution of intent, the council will still need to vote on the actual sale once a contract is formalized.