Northeast Arkansas developers buy Bentonville land near future museum site

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 5,395 views 

Two residential developments in the Bentonville’s Market District west of 8th Street Market have changed hands for a combined $1.45 million.

A group of investors in northeast Arkansas — through an entity called Art Park LLC — acquired a 2,357-square-foot single-family home at 610 S.E. E St. ($750,000) and a 2,928-square-foot multifamily property at 609 S.E. D St. ($706,000).

Jim Webb, through his Whablee LLC, sold the E Street property to the investment group. Scott and Kathy Main were the previous owners of the D Street property. The First National Bank of Fort Smith backed each purchase with two one-year loans valued at a combined $1.23 million.

Each lot is approximately a half-acre, and combined they occupy one half block to the south of the city-owned Austin-Baggett Park.

The site is also one block from a former Kraft Cheese plant at 507 S.E. E St. The decommissioned factory — closed in 2012 — is owned by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum announced 15 months ago it will eventually reinvent the 5.8-acre property into a contemporary art facility, somewhat of an annex to the existing museum less than 2 miles away that’s been open now for almost six years.

Also nearby are the Tourmaline Urban Lofts, a $10 million townhouse project featuring 15 semi-attached townhouses starting at 2,000 square feet. The development at 501 S.E. D. St. is nearing completion.

The location is not lost on Brett Crowson, one of the Art Park investors. Crowson is a commercial banker-slash-real estate developer in Jonesboro. He said he and his partners are still doing due diligence to determine the best use of their new property, but he is keen on joining the development boom in the city.

“This project has me more excited than just about anything I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best pieces of dirt in the state. It is the best, in my opinion. What’s going on [in Bentonville], I just don’t think there’s anything like it in the country… that I know of. I know there’s nothing like it in the state.”

Crowson said the two land deals took over to a year to complete. He acknowledged the seven-figure price to secure the two parcels totaling 1.14 acres — which came out to $29.52 per square foot — but he is confident in the return.

“We paid a premium price, but we feel good about the location and what’s going on in the area; we want to be part of it,” he said.