A 201-acre site in the Hilltop area of Jonesboro will be on the minds of the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC) when it meets Tuesday night.
The commission’s chairman, Lonnie Roberts Jr., said Friday night the commission will be looking at the rezoning request asked for by Greensboro Investments, LLC. Commercial real estate brokerage firm Halsey Thrasher Harpole is developing the property for Greensboro.
The rezoning request covers property that runs from east of Red Wolf/Stadium Boulevards on the north side of Johnson Avenue. From there, the project, called “Jonesborough Village” in the public application form, will run north to Greensboro Road and east to Arkansas 351.
Talk Business & Politics content partner, KAIT Ch. 8, reported Friday night that the upscale living development, called “Greensborough Village Town Center,” would be a “city within a city” with boutique retail outlets and residential living space for nearly 2,000 people.
As part of the development, which could take seven to 10 years to complete, Arkansas 351 could be expanded to five lanes or a boulevard. If approved by the planning commission and city council, construction could start in about six weeks.
Roberts said he has not had time to review the application and plans to spend the weekend doing so. However, he said the rezoning would fit under a so-called “neighborhood commercial” district.
The land is currently zoned R-1 single family and C-3 general commercial.
According to the application posted on the MAPC website, the land can be used for a variety of reasons. They include everything from residential and multi-family dwellings to convenience stores, pharmacies, hotels and banks.
Roberts said the commission reviews zoning requests and makes a recommendation, either to rezone or not rezone a particular area.
From there, if a rezoning request is approved, the project then can go to the Jonesboro City Council for its review. The commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Municipal Center on Church Street.
UPDATE: “We are truly building a city inside a city. Greensborough Village will be a place that you can live, work, shop, eat and play,” Gary Harpole, managing partner with Halsey Thrasher Harpole tells Talk Business & Politics.
“Greensborough Village will redefine how development is done in Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas,” Harpole said. “This is the region’s first true master-planned, mixed-use development. The attention to detail, quality of life, complimentary amenities and community impact have never been greater. There has been a significant amount of time and money spent in advance solely on land use and traffic impact studies and planning. The investors in this project are adamant that we deliver a final product to the market that will set new standards in every category. This will become a true destination point in Northeast Arkansas.”
While little has been made public about the project until now, Harpole said that hasn’t done anything to wane interest. If anything, it may have fueled it.
“We get asked about it everywhere we go,” Harpole said. “Whether it’s Jerry (Halsey), Roddy (Thrasher) or myself, if we are in a meeting or making a presentation to an individual or a group, this development eventually comes up. We have had some very informal, focus discussions with a broad range of residents about the development. Younger, older, families with children, families without children, retired, professional, student. .. you name it. Without fail, somebody wants to know when they can buy a lot and move.”
Harpole said the development has been in a study phase for nearly two years and at least $150,000 in pre-planning expenses have been spent.
He said his firm went through an extensive process in identifying, vetting, interviewing and ultimately securing the services of the planning partners associated with this project.
The firm of Littlejohn and Associates, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, was brought on board for land planning. Littlejohn is a multi-disciplined engineering and planning firm with over 125 employees in eight offices located in four states.
“They understand communities like Jonesboro; our size, our limitations, our geography. They have a unique skill set attuned to working in southern communities and creating an exemplary sense of place and quality of life,” Harpole said.
For traffic planning, developers will use Peters & Associates out of Little Rock. Associated Engineering of Jonesboro has been added to manage the shaping and contouring of the site, building the infrastructure, and coordinating the expansion of utilities.
Likewise, Harpole said that Arkansas State University has been very good to work with throughout the planning process.
“No matter where the road goes, it comes through ASU,” Harpole said. “They own all four corners of the interchange, so any study of that intersection would require their cooperation. They were very generous to give the planners the freedom to essentially ignore property boundaries for the purpose of vision-casting its best use as well as studying the intersection.”
But Harpole made it clear that ASU has been a passive participant. “ASU has not been asked for nor have they spent any money on this project at any stage,” Harpole said.
Below is an artist’s rendering of the front commercial space planned for Greensborough Village, courtesy of Halsey Harpole Thrasher.