Officials with the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education broke ground Wednesday (Dec. 15) on a 78,131 square-foot, $22.5 million commercial building at the Village at Heritage in Fort Smith. The planned building is part of commercial and residential space across the street from the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The third building, called Building C, will hold commercial businesses on the first floor and student housing on the second and third levels. It’s part of planned development on ACHE’s 515 acres.
“The demand for additional student housing, combined with numerous requests from retail merchants to open a location in Heritage expedited the plans for the third building,” ACHE Chief Operating Office Les Smith noted in a statement. “With the construction of Building C and the additional 70 apartments, we will now provide support for 44% of our students with campus housing. In addition, Heritage will provide the community with additional options for dining and shopping in a new, trendy experience.”
Businesses expected to be in the new building are My Uniform Corner (second location), a new gift shop concept from Jamie Coleman and Creative Kitchen, Simply Couture Boutique, a boba tea/Vietnamese restaurant, and a restaurant featuring steaks and fresh seafood.
Smith said the building should be finished in March 2023, and planning is in the “initial stage” for a phase four building expected to include apartments south of the Residents apartments on the ACHE campus.
ACHE was formed when Fort Smith-based Degen Foundation used part of $70 million from the sale of Sparks Health System in November 2009 to what was then Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates to build the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) at Chaffee Crossing. The $32.4 million college and its 103,000 square feet is now home to 600 medical students.
ACHE has since built a 66,000-square-foot, $16 million, College of Health Science building on the campus that is home to physical therapy and occupational therapy degree programs. ACHE is also underway on standing up its Research Institute Health and Wellness Center.