Haynes Limited Only by Imagination

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On the surface, H. Collins Haynes is a tree-hugging environmentalist. Underneath, he’s a hardcore businessman.

For Haynes, it’s about the balance between fiscal and foliage sense. The architect and his Haynes Ltd. partners, wife and architect Cynthia Haynes and son Hunter Haynes, have worked to accomplish that.

Haynes, 53, said he believes in using financial and creative resources to preserve parcels of the Natural State when possible. But if the numbers don’t add up, he’s not in.

“Everything’s done to a per-square-foot basis to the penny,” Hunter Haynes agreed.

The family owns 675 acres of ready-to-be developed land in Northwest Arkansas, including 520 acres along the Interstate 540 corridor. They declined to disclose the value of their real estate portfolio.

In recent months, the Haynes family has waded hip deep into some of the most sensitive land-use issues in the area.

They purchased Lake Keith for $1.5 million and pieced together 30 acres of surrounding land for “several hundred thousand dollars.” The property is adjacent to the Cave Springs cave, which houses the threatened blind Ozark cave fish and a large population of endangered gray bats.

They’ve purchased the long-delayed Fayetteville Fiber Park for $5.2 million and struck a groundbreaking agreement with the Arkansas Audubon Society to manage 123.5 acres of wetlands smack in the middle of the 289-acre development. The park is now known as Springwoods.

“This project has been quagmired in absolute contentious debate for 13 years,” Collins Haynes said. “And the longer it went on, the worse it was getting. Everybody told us when we first started thinking about doing this, ‘There’s no way. There is no way.'”

But the Hayneses saw green in Springwoods’ pastures.

Springwoods

The Fayetteville Planning Commission approved a final plat permit on April 1 for Springwoods as a mixed-use development.

Plans are to develop 58 acres for single-family residences, 37 acres as multi-family residences and 71 acres for commercial use. Hunter Haynes said “athletic clubs, financial institutions and professionals” have all expressed interest in the commercial lots.

The remaining wetlands will be managed by the Audubon Society through a conservation conveyance from Haynes Ltd. The sides are currently bound only by a verbal agreement, but something in writing is expected when the project gets final city approval.

Hunter Haynes said the parties are already committed for the long haul.

The various name incarnations for Springwoods, which lies west of the intersection of I-540 and Arkansas Highway 112, have included the Fayetteville Fiber Park, the Arkansas Business Technology Park and the Wilson Springs Business Park.

Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody said the city bought the property and did some work at the site for a total of about $1.8 million in the late 1980s. In 1990, Southwestern Bell laid fiber-optic cable through sections of the site as part of a settlement with the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Since then, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has designated about 100 acres of the site as wetlands.

Development in that area is controversial because the wetlands are a home of the Arkansas darter fish, a candidate for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s threatened list.

In the summer of 2002, a task force appointed by the Fayetteville City Council to come up with a plan to develop the acreage was formed. But recommendations got bogged down in bureaucracy.

Soon after, Hunter Haynes said, Coody called and asked if the Haynes’ would be interested in developing the land.

Coody said no local developer had stepped up to the plate, so he called Hanyes Ltd. because of their track record at Pinnacle Point. They were capable of putting together the sort of high-end development Fayetteville needed, he said.

“This is a perfect example of the city and private developers working together for the benefit of both,” Coody said.

All that’s left is for the final plat to be filed with the county and for the Hayneses to receive a Section 404 permit from the Corps of Engineers.

Hunter Haynes said he expects to have the entire approval process on Springwoods completed by the end of July. Then development can begin.

The site’s fiber-optics infrastructure can be leveraged by both commercial and residential developments, Hunter Haynes said.

“Now as we’re moving through the city process, the Audubon Society is involved with us the entire way through,” he said.

Hunter Haynes said the Society helped write Springwoods’ restrictive covenants. Their partnership, he said, is a one-of-a-kind for the state. He called it a model for future environmentally conscious developments.

Ken Smith, executive director of the Audubon Society in Little Rock, said the group plans to build an educational center that will eventually house a professional staff, a meeting room and have field-research capabilities. There are also plans to develop a series of trails and observation stations, so the public can enjoy and learn from the land.

The covenants include the management of water, perhaps the biggest issue, since the Arkansas darter will literally be in the middle of the development, Smith said. Aesthetic signage and outdoor lighting designed to minimize light pollution will also be used.

Smith said the Audubon Society will have a list of recommended native species plants to use for landscaping plus a list of strongly discouraged invasive species.

Lake Keith

The Hayneses bought Lake Keith at the end of 2003. They spent $100,000 to clean up and restore the seven-acre lake and an adjoining 30 acres.

Collins Haynes said the mouth of Cave Springs cave, which is owned by the Arkansas Heritage Commission, is actually on the land he purchased near Lake Keith.

The cave is home of the largest regional population of the threatened blind Ozark cave fish and about 18,000 endangered gray bats (see story below).

Allyn Lord, assistant director for the Rogers Historical Museum, said W.M. Bartlett rebuilt a pre-existing dam in 1914 or 1915, and called it Loch Lono after his daughter. In 1947, E.L. Keith purchased the lake and built a resort on adjoining land. In 1957, Barron and Patricia Collier bought the lake and operated it as a fish hatchery until the early 1980s.

Thekla Wallis, Cave Springs’ mayor, said when she moved to the area 33 years ago the lake was a thriving catch-and-release fishing spot. Since the hatchery closed, the fishing stopped and the property has deteriorated.

“What it really was was an opportunity to actually go back in and restore what we thought should be a pristine ecological area,” Collins Haynes said.

He said the spring on the land produces about 2 million gallons of water a day. He believes it’s the largest privately-owned spring west of the Mississippi River.

The Hayneses are tight-lipped about plans for Lake Keith. Collins Haynes said they are under no pressure to get a financial return on the land.

“Why not do what’s right?” Collins Haynes said. “Why spend enormous amounts of money on trying to skirt the real issues?”

Haynes’ Holdings

Late in 2003, the Pinnacle Group — which consists of principals J.B. Hunt, Tim Graham, Bill Schwyhart and Robert Thornton — bought out the Hayneses estimated 25 percent interest in both the $60 million Pinnacle Point Properties LLC and more than $10 million Pinnacle Air Group LLC.

The Hayneses hope to begin work soon on Metropark, a 50-acre commercial development between Bentonville’s Horsebarn Road and I-540.

Hunter Haynes said financing is squared away, but they are awaiting final approval from the city of Bentonville.

Metropark will include five professional and medical office buildings totaling 75,000 SF. Of that, about 40,000 SF is already leased, Hunter Haynes said. The project will cost about $8 million to construct. It will include the clean-up and beautification of a seasonal stream and pond.

Collins Haynes said he has no intention of Haynes Ltd. becoming the most prolific development firm in the area. The firm simply wants to do projects where it’s comfortable in predicting the end result, economically, environmentally and at the community-acceptance level.

He said the fact that his wife and son work with him gives him an advantage of insight and helps to produce a better end product.

Cynthia Haynes works as an architectural designer with the firm and said she serves “on the creative side” as a sounding board for its designs.

She summed up her partners by saying, “They make things happen.”

Hayneses Swimming In Troubled Species

The Haynes family of Rogers has inherited three rare critters with habitats on or adjacent to their development properties:

• the blind Ozark cave fish near Lake Keith, which is on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department’s list of threatened species;

• the endangered gray bat, also near Lake Keith;

• and the Arkansas darter, a candidate for the threatened list.

The Hayneses are in preliminary talks with David Kampwerth, a Karst Biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department, about developing a plan to install a fence at the mouth of the Cave Springs cave that will allow the gray bats to fly directly out of the cave and over Lake Keith.

Kampwerth said the chain-link fence that’s in front of the cave now requires the population of about 18,000 gray bats to make a 90-degree “loop-de-loop” to get in and out. A new fence designed to keep out spelunkers and allow bat freedom will cost in the “five digits,” he said.

Kampwerth said he’s optimistic talks will go well with the Hayneses and that the developers and the USFWD will come up with an easement for the fence.

“They seem to have a very great conservation ethic about them,” Kampwerth said.

The cave fish would probably not be directly affected by anything the Hayneses decide to do on the property because the cave is upstream, although the water quality in the cave is depreciating over time, Kampwerth said. He said the cave is home to one half of all known Ozark cave fish in the world.

The Arkansas darter fish is an inch-and-a-half-long cousin to the walleye and the yellow perch. It’s named for the Arkansas River, not the state. There are five populations of Arkansas darters in the state. The one on the Hayneses’ property is the largest by far, Kampwerth said.

“It’s truly a rare fish,” Kampwerth said.

The darter makes its home in Wilson Spring on the southern side of Springwoods but can be found throughout the wetlands in the middle of Springwoods.

Kampwerth said upstream influences are affecting wetlands at Springwoods, and he hopes the Hayneses will work to minimize their impact on the fish’s habitat.