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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR-Garver Engineers LLC has broken ground on its 50,000-sf headquarters. The $10-million office building will create 120 new jobs at an average annual wage of $65,000 per employee, bringing the total headquarters workforce to 230 people.

The engineering services company will relocate from at 1010 Battery St. in Downtown Little Rock in June 2009. A spokesman for Garver Engineers tells GlobeSt.com that the company looked for new space for about a year and considered all options–renting, buying and developing. He says the company looked throughout central Arkansas for likely space and ultimately bought five acres about 1.5 years ago in NorthShore Business Park, a 150-acre development at the junction of Interstate 430 and Crystal Hill Road.

Todd Larson, executive director of the North Little Rock Economic Development Corp., says NorthShore Business Park’s nature amenities appealed to Garver Engineers’ management. The business park is owned by Little Rock real estate investor Gene Pfeiffer and includes Burns Park, the River Trail system and Big Dam Bridge, all geared toward hiking and biking.

“This was a business park where they could develop an attractive campus and they wanted to promote a green and healthy lifestyle,” Larson explains. “Location and lifestyle were the two main reasons Garver chose this site.”

Robert Boyles, planning director with the city of North Little Rock, agrees, adding the bike paths link to the Little Rock parks systems and access to Downtown Little Rock from the business park. Also, he points out easy access is available to Interstate 40, the major east-west route through Arkansas.

NorthShore Business Park’s roster includes the 28-acre Arkansas Surgical Hospital, which opened in the early 2000s and is undergoing a $13-million expansion. The business park also holds the state’s first “green building,” a 124,310-sf design that opened in summer 2007 and is occupied by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Officials say Garver Engineers will seek LEED certification for its building as well.

Boyles says development at NorthShore Business Park started somewhat slowly when Pfeiffer bought the land eight years ago. But, momentum has picked up as more businesses show interest in settling in central Arkansas. “We seem to be reviewing a new request for development once a month there,” he says. “One of the latest we’re looking at is a bicycle manufacturing and distribution plant that will develop a high-end type of bicycle.”

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