A decade ago, Keith Tencleve had a thought in his head for the type of neighborhood where he wanted his family to live.
“Michele [his wife] and I were walking around our neighborhood discussing our intention to buy several acres and build a house,” he recalled.
He couldn’t find what he was envisioning, so Tencleve decided to create it.
Tencleve, an engineer at Garver in Fayetteville, is trying his hand at residential real estate development with a “conservation neighborhood” called Blackberry Ridge. The rural 88-acre property is less than 1 mile outside the Fayetteville city limits on the city’s northwest side, north of West Weir Road.
“From our perspective, we want to establish a front-porch neighborhood, the idea of community, with a back porch natural setting,” Tencleve said. “From a design perspective, those two things are sometimes at odds, but what we’re trying to do is find a balance where you have both.”
Tencleve stressed the project is separate from his professional career at Garver, the state’s largest engineering, planning, architectural and environmental services firm. He’s hired friends in the engineering community to complete the infrastructure design work.
Tencleve, who holds three degrees from the University of Arkansas, has worked for Garver since 2005. He is the company’s first director of AssetMax, which delivers pavement management strategies to clients across the country.
With his wife, Tencleve’s business partners in Blackberry Ridge are A.J. and Sara Neufeld. They formed a limited liability company to buy the land in November 2018 for $525,000.
City and county planners approved the Blackberry Ridge development plan this past summer. It will include 60 lots for single-family homes.
Roughly 25 acres will be donated to a Property Owners Association (POA) for common area and green space use, making the development a conservation neighborhood. That designation requires a certain percentage of a proposed subdivision’s land to be set aside as undivided, permanently protected open space for conservation or agriculture.
“There are a lot of large hardwoods out there, and we want to protect those as much as possible,” Tencleve said.
This year, construction crews completed work to extend Rupple Road between Tanyard Drive and Weir Road.
“That really opens up that part of the county, access-wise,” Tencleve said.
Weir Road is partially a dirt road, but Tencleve said the developers will contribute to the county’s cost to improve the road.
Blackberry Ridge will be completed in multiple phases. Infrastructure construction should begin in the next couple of months. Phase 1 lot sizes range from around 0.75 acres to about 2 acres. Prices are still being finalized, Tencleve said.
“We will be pre-selling lots soon,” he said. “Word of mouth has kind of gotten out, and we’ve got quite a few interested parties right now.”