Fayetteville Mayor says infrastructure investments helped spur more private sector construction

by Rose Ann Pearce (rapearce@thecitywire.com) 50 views 

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan talking earlier this year about growth in Fayetteville.

The building boom continues in Fayetteville with permits for new apartments, single-family homes, new commercial buildings and other development up more than 200% in the first six months of 2016.

“Construction definitely is on an uptick,” said Andrew Garner, Fayetteville city planner, as evidenced by 93 building permits issued in January alone, compared to 37 permits issued in January 2015.

While January was a strong month, numerous building projects continue to take shape in Fayetteville through the first half of 2016. The value of those permits were just over $155.178 million, compared to $49.502 million a year ago, according to the monthly building activity reports.

There may be many reasons for all the building activity, such as banks being more amenable to new construction financing, but Mayor Lioneld Jordan said the building activity may have more to do with Fayetteville’s quality of life as much as any other reason.

“We have a good partnership with all entities in the community,” he said. “That builds community ideas.”

Jordan suggested the interest in Fayetteville “started with building infrastructure, including parks and trails, the regional park and the College Avenue flyover.” In recent years the city has invested more than $40 million in that infrastructure.

“It’s driving the train,” Jordan said.

THE APARTMENT PUSH
Two major apartment complexes are underway on Steele Boulevard. On the southwest corner of Joyce Boulevard and Steele, the Uptown apartments with 320 units and additional commercial and retail space. One block south, another apartment complex is under construction on the northeast corner of Steele and Van Asche Drive with about 300 units, according to building permit information. That project is being built by Thompson Thrift Construction Co. of Terre Haute, Ind.

Across town, the next phase of The Links of Fayetteville, a Lindsey Development Co. project, is taking shape with new apartments and single-family homes. This project has been issued building permits for some 420 housing units. Also on the city’s west side, Trademark Custom Homes is building 12 single-family homes on Salem Road between Persimmon Road and Wedington Drive with more on the way. More apartments are also planned on the east side of Salem Road, in the same vicinity. Garner said a Fort Smith developer is planning to build 55 multifamily units in a wooded area behind Planet Fitness.

South of Persimmon Street, the Rupple Road extension is underway and there are 600 acres on either side of the new roadway, which will open for development when the street is complete. That tract has already been rezoned for mixed-use development, Garner said. Farther west off Persimmon, streets are being laid out for another subdivision south of Persimmon and east of Broyle Road. Land has been cleared for building more new duplex units near Nettleship Street west of the University of Arkansas.

Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said some 500 new homes are planned between Rupple and Broyle roads in the next three to four years.

“There’s excitement with people investing in Fayetteville. It’s more a seller’s market, Clark said, predicting more housing developments around the new regional park as the side of town is attracting residents.

MEDICAL EXPANSION, COLLEGE AVENUE CHANGES
Washington Regional Medical Center expects completion of a multi-story building with 100 new patient rooms when the new Women and Infants Center is completed and opened later this year. The building also will house a level 3A neonatal intensive care unit, which is nearly triple in size; a parking garage with 350 additional spaces; and a second helipad on the roof.

As work wraps up on that facility, work has started on a 67,000 square-foot Medical Plaza south of Appleby Road. The four-story building is on a 5.22 acre tract across the street from the emergency room and will include urgent care; family practice; internal medical; urology; endocrinology; gynecologic oncology; and outpatient imaging with on-site radiologists, providing x-ray, MRI and other imaging services.

Two large high profile tracts of land in Fayetteville are now in the market for development. The Marinoni property on Wedington Drive, east of Interstate 49, will be the site of the new Cross Church and more housing as construction begins in the next few months. A large tract owned by Neal Pendergraft, located between Drake Street and the Fulbright Expressway, is also on the drafting table for development by a Texas developer, Clark said.

New retail and commercial space is being developed too, like JJ’s Beer Garden & Brewing Co., a new restaurant and brewery at the southwest corner of Van Asche Drive and Steele Boulevard.

New development is popping up along College Avenue, Garner noted, as the thoroughfare continues to regenerate as buildings, built in the 1960s are nearing the end of their lifespan. An example, he said, is the corner of College and Township Avenue where in recent years, all four corners have been redeveloped, starting with Walgreen’s on the northwest corner, followed by Kum & Go, Arvest Bank and CVS Pharmacy.

New construction is also occurring on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard where Raising Cane’s is building its second Fayetteville restaurant and a new strip center is taking shape west of Interstate 49, near Lucy’s Diner.

“There’s not a shortage of projects,” Clark said. “It’s not on fire but just about.”

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