Winning auction bid for commercial lots in Fayetteville’s Mountain Ranch development comes in at $555,000

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,083 views 

Wilson Auctioneers president and principal broker Joe Wilson.

Bentonville-based development firm Dynamic Development Inc. agreed at auction Tuesday (Dec. 12) to buy three bank-owned commercial lots in Fayetteville totaling 24.78 acres for $555,000. The purchase price equals $0.51 cents per square foot.

Dynamic Development vice president Todd Fleeman was one of four active bidders at Tuesday’s auction, conducted by Hot Springs-based Wilson Auctioneers Inc. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fayetteville.

About 40 people were present. Fleeman outlasted an unidentified telephone bidder from central Arkansas to wrap up the auction.

The land is north of Sixth Street (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) west of Interstate 49 in Fayetteville. It is known as the Mountain Ranch property and was originally envisioned a decade ago as a 460-acre mixed-use development.

Wilson Auctioneers had intended Tuesday to auction the undeveloped remains — a mixture of about 260 acres of both commercial and residential lots — but the four residential/multifamily tracts totaling about 229 acres were pulled out of the auction last week by the property owner, Conway-based Centennial Bank.

“There’s no issue with the title on any of that land, but I can’t really discuss any other details,” Wilson Auctioneers president and principal broker Joe Wilson said before the start of the auction.

Dynamic Development was also deeded two tracts totaling about 8 acres that are mainly retention ponds. Dynamic Development is owned by Jeannie Fleeman Sooter, whose firm was responsible for development of the 50-acre Fountain Plaza, a mixed-use development off of Walton Boulevard in Bentonville less than a mile west of Interstate 49.

Todd Fleeman, her son, said there are no specific plans yet for development of the Mountain Ranch acreage. The company’s marketing and leasing efforts will be led by David Erstine with CBRE in Fayetteville.

Deadline to close the auction purchase is Jan. 11.

Colliers Dickson Flake Partners of Little Rock announced its intention to develop the Mountain Ranch acreage in 2008. Colliers partnered with Jorgensen & Associates Engineers in Fayetteville to design a multi-phase plan for the development, with residential, multifamily and commercial components. Construction costs for the entire project were estimated at more than $300 million.

The land owner at the time was Coco Mountain Ranch LLC, registered to Little Rock lawyer-slash-investor Steven Eugene “Gene” Cauley. Coco Mountain purchased the development from Fayetteville businessman Tom Terminella in July 2007 for $17.1 million, but the majority of the land was later returned to Centennial Bank in 2011.

Cauley was stripped of his Arkansas law license in 2009 and sent to federal prison after admitting to a New York federal judge that he stole more than $9.3 million from clients. Cauley committed suicide last year at his Hot Springs home. He was 48.

Among the developments that did manage to come to fruition in Mountain Ranch were the 15-acre Mountain Ranch Apartments, a four-story, 360-unit complex. Delta Group Electronics Inc. also built a 4.68-acre office development. A neighborhood with 117 residential lots was also developed.

The three tracts acquired by Dynamic Development are contiguous to the apartments and the DEG building at the northern end of Mountain Ranch.