Activity continues at Chaffee Crossing, only 2,800 acres remain to develop

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 263 views 

Chaffee Crossing continues to see development in the commercial, industrial, residential and retail areas, including the opening of Interstate 549 in July and ongoing construction of the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

According to Ivy Owen, executive director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, developments include four medical clinics, 13 residential projects either planned, in construction or finished, an adult daycare, a restaurant, at least one shopping center, several industry expansions and the new location for Brownwood Life Care Center.

“Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all that is happening here,” he said. “The ribbon cutting for the Interstate was a big milestone for us. It opened up a lot of property on those interchanges which hadn’t been accessible before. It got a lot of people’s attention.”

The medical clinics include Chaffee Crossing Clinic, which broke ground Oct. 6 at 17200 Roberts Blvd., and will be staffed by Dr. Justin Hayes and two other local physicians. It is expected to be open in Spring 2016.

Additional planned facilities are a dental clinic located on Chad Colley Boulevard and Massard Road, for Dr. Beau Sparkman, a veterinarian clinic for Dr. Trevor South and Rachel Borchers, and a psychiatric clinic on Massard Road. The veterinary clinic, River Valley Animal Hospital and Emergency Clinic, will locate on Frontier Road.

Construction on the $32.4 million osteopathic medical facility began in February and should be complete in April 2016. It will be housed in a three story, 102,000-square-foot-building and will serve an estimated 600 students, expected to be enrolled in Fall 2017. Owen said there could potentially be a physician assistant class and a Masters of nursing class available in Fall 2016.

The facility is being built on 87 acres on Chad Colley Boulevard. An additional 113 acres across the street from the facility will be a commercial mixed-use development to serve the college and it’s students.

“It will have everything it takes to support a medical school and it’s students,” said Owen. “There will be retail, residential and commercial development. It’s being planned by some pretty high-powered smart growth planners from around the nation.”

He expects construction on the commercial area to begin in late Fall 2015.

Pinnacle Communications of Lavaca won the bid to provide fiber optics to the future medical college and has purchased 2.5 acres on Mahogany Avenue, including 1.5 acres that houses building number 1089.

Lorie Robertson, director of marketing for FCRA, said a restaurant, going into the old Manness Schoolhouse, is getting close to being finished. The Stonehouse at Chaffee Crossing, located at the corner of Wells Lake Road and Massard Road, will be the first restaurant that opens in the area.

Because the building is a historic property, extra care was taken with the construction and renovation, said Owen.

“They worked very closely with the National Archives and Records Administration, using an architect from Little Rock, to make sure they complied with all the historical standards on this development. It really looks nice.”

The retail shopping center at the corner of Arkansas 59 and Arkansas 22 will begin construction soon, said Owen. He predicts the 800,000-square-foot facility located on 90 acres will house approximately 70 stores and create as many as 700 jobs in the area. The property was purchased by Marion Smith and her sister Debbie, who live near Hot Springs, Ark.

“They are moving right along,” he said. “I think they have an anchor tenant and leasing is in the process. They are on a fast track to get that open.”

Owen said developers from Dallas are spearheading the project, but names of potential clientele have not been released.

“They are really tight-lipped about that,” he said, adding that construction should be underway within the next couple of months. He predicts there may be a few local facilities, but mostly chain stores and restaurants will occupy the space.

Brownwood Life Care broke ground Aug. 25 on a new $6 million facility. The facility, which serves children and young adults with disabilities, has been housed on Towson Avenue in Fort Smith for nearly three decades. The adult daycare will be run by Johnny Nguyen and Chao M. Do. The unnamed facility will be located at the northeast corner of Roberts and Wells Lake Road. Initially, the facility will only serve those from St. Mary’s Catholic parish, but plans are to expand the facility once it is established.

“They saw a need for this service and our area is a good location for them,” said Owen.

Several large residential projects are also taking place around Chaffee Crossing. The largest is named Providence, a 50-acre track adjacent to the future ArcBest headquarters and developed by Rod Coleman. This three-phase building project will include single family homes on lots of two to three acres as well as duplexes in phase two and three. Prairie Crossing is also being constructed at the corner of Veteran’s Road, Chad Colley Road, Frontier and Zero Streets.There are additional residential areas being built in Barling along H Street as well as several others throughout Chaffee Crossing property.

ArcBest announced the construction of a new 200,000 square foot corporate headquarters in Chaffee Crossing and began construction in April. Plans are to occupy the building by early 2017. Other industries within Chaffee Crossing announcing expansion, formation or improvement include Phoenix Metals and Affinity Chemical, Umarex USA/Walther Arms and Mars PetCare.

The FCRA, formed in 1997, oversees redevelopment of land released by the U.S. Army from Fort Chafee as part of a Base Realignment and Closure downsizing. There were initially 6000 acres for sale in Chaffee Crossing.

“We have sold 3,200 with only 2,800 left. We have sold most of our bigger parcels and are down to a lot more specialized retail and commercial parcels except at Barling, where we have some property that could have up to 100 acres in one place,” said Owen.

He listed the economic impact of Chaffee Crossing at $850 million and said nearly 1,300 jobs have been created.

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