Mel Collier Offers $3M For West Avenue Parking Lot

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 221 views 

Fayetteville businessman Mel Collier has offered $3 million to the city for the 2.8-acre West Avenue parking lot in downtown Fayetteville, at the corner of Dickson Street.

Collier, who owns Collier Drug Stores Inc. at 100 W. Dickson St., submitted the offer Friday through his attorney to Jeremy Pate, the city’s development services director.

A copy of the letter is available here. Collier said he has the backing of the businesses that make up the Dickson Street Merchants Association.

Collier said his motive for the all-cash offer is simple — he and other Dickson Street business owners can’t afford to lose any amount of parking.

“I hope this brings to light how serious the merchants are down here about parking,” Collier told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “And how important it is to all of the businesses down here to get as much parking as we can get.”

“Everybody touts trails and bikes and walking, but Fayetteville still drives cars. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Sure, the people that live down here will walk or ride a bike, but if other people are going to come down here, they’re going to drive.”

Collier’s offer, which equals $24.59 per SF, comes just three days after the city tabled a proposition from Fayetteville businessmen Brian Reindl and Rob Sharp to buy a portion of the 290-space parking lot with the intent to develop a mixed-use building on the property.

The Fayetteville Flyer reported earlier this week the proposed building’s footprint would cover 58 parking spaces, but the lost parking spaces would be replaced with on-street spaces along West Avenue.

Reindl’s offer, according to the Flyer, includes $337,440 for purchase of the land, and about $87,000 for construction of the on-street parking.

Because the city has had considerable interest in the lot, Mayor Lioneld Jordan asked the city council to pass a resolution regarding their intent to sell the property. A resolution expressing the city council’s intent to consider proposals was passed March 1.

Susan Norton, the city’s director of communications and marketing, provided the following statement to the Business Journal on Friday.

“City staff plan to issue an RFP so that all proposals could be submitted under the same criteria and be reviewed in a transparent process. Our chief of staff, Don Marr, has indicated that we will not be speaking about any particular offers that come through prior to that RFP, or the council changing the direction they set with the March 1 resolution.”

The next scheduled Fayetteville City Council meeting is July 5.

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