story by Kim Souza
Selling downtown Bentonville as a residential hot spot is a no-brainer given the cuisine and arts that draw thousands to the town square each week. The demand for living downtown is growing, and the developers behind three new residential developments all within walking distance to the Bentonville Square hope to answer the demand.
City planners approved two new large scale residential developments on Tuesday night (May 6) at the regular planning commission meeting. The Black Apple Addition will be located at 812 Northeast A St., near Crystal Bridges Museum. The plan calls for 11 single family townhomes between 800 and 1,100 square feet. The homes will be sold as individual units, but the land lots are communal and part of a property owners association, according to Jon Stanley, city planner.
Stanley said the planned development will sit adjacent to the trails at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and is about five blocks to the downtown square. The developer is listed as C&L NWA Properties.
The second large scale residential project approved on Tuesday was the Lamplighter Townhome development to be located at 219 NW A St., roughly three blocks from the downtown square. This development will have four single family townhomes, about 1,000 square feet each and brick construction. The units will be connected like row homes, according to the diagram submitted to the city.
Building residential density is part of Bentonville’s long range plan to develop its Arts and Markets Districts which are extensions of the townsquare. In December city officials unveiled a large 18-acre downtown area ripe for redevelopment.
The two major streets that connect the two districts — Main Street and Southwest A Street — are in the midst of redevelopment. Troy Galloway, community and economic development director for Bentonville, told The City Wire in December that more residential options are needed to build population density downtown.
“We felt like this plan was needed given the near-over capacity levels of the immediate downtown square area and this southeastern district is somewhat ripe for redevelopment as the new Razorback Greenway runs right through this area,” Galloway said.
The two new districts will hopefully attract more business to the expanded downtown area, but keeping them there will depend on increased foot traffic, he said.
The city plan called for denser multifamily development on the perimeter of the Market District as well as the Arts District, with single family homes, shops and mixed use space along both Main Street and Southwest A.
ERC recently broke ground on its 62-unit multifamily project with mixed use space which is located at corners of Southwest A and Southwest Fourth Streets. This large scale project, known as the ”Thrive,” will sit within the Arts District. The Thrive apartments are set to open by the end of this year. Thrive will be marketed to business professionals with one and two-bedroom units ranging from $800 to $1,200 per month. The units will be upscale but small, 520-square-foot one bedrooms and 1,000-square-foot two-bedrooms. The ground floor terrace will be a common area open to artists and musicians to create a unique sense of community.
Across the street, the Hub is a redeveloped office and retail complex which has already opened for business. Downtown Bentonville Inc. has already moved its offices into the Hub. Bike Rack Brewery and Peddler’s Pub and a woodfire pizzeria have leased space in the Hub. The Razorback Greenway Trail System is adjacent to the Hub.
Galloway said there are other projects coming and considerable interest in redevelopment projects in both of the new districts following the city’s unveiling of the plan in December.
A new Walmart Neighborhood Market to be located just off the square in the redeveloped Midtown Center is expected to draw traffic draw to the area once it and the surrounding mixed-use project opens in the spring of 2015.