FCRA touts progress in 2022 at Chaffee Crossing

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 1,215 views 

2022 was a record-breaking year for the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, according to the organization’s annual report released Wednesday (Jan. 25). The report noted that 2022 property sales totaled $3.8 million, and returned 66 acres to taxable property.

Property sold in 2022 generated $4.3 million in real estate taxes. Since 2011, $25.9 million has been generated in real estate taxes, the report states.

“In its 25th year, FCRA has achieved all-time highs in capital investments, job creation, numbers of residential units, and completion of infrastructure and public amenity projects. We were very pleased to track data that totals more than $2.4 million in projected capital investments,” said Daniel Mann, FCRA executive director and CEO. “New tax dollars coming to Sebastian County and the cities of Fort Smith and Barling means additional funds are available for street, sewer, water, infrastructure projects and public amenities. It also means more money is flowing into Fort Smith, Greenwood and Lavaca School Districts.”

According to the annual report, industrial development is the leading sector for FCRA at $891 million in projected capital investments, followed by residential ($810 million) and commercial/retail development ($17.5 million).

Two new industrial developments at Chaffee were announced in 2022. Van Trust Real Estate (VTRE) was approved to purchase 61 acres to construct an 825,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility and Colorado Springs-based Axe and the Oak Whiskey Distillery purchased a 49,000-square-foot former military laundry facility for a whiskey distillery and tasting room.  The FCRA board approved a sale Aug. 19  of 60.89 acres on Mahogany Avenue and Fort Chaffee Boulevard in Chaffee Crossing to VanTrust Real Estate (VTRE Development) for $40,000 per acre or roughly $2.4 million for the warehouse project.

VTRE, the City of Barling, and FCRA will share the costs of installing highway traffic signalization, extending utilities and performing street improvements to complement the project. FCRA approved the $675,000 sale of Building 339 and 5.32 acres to Axe and the Oak Distillery.

The latest residential development to break ground at Chaffee Crossing is a 180-until apartment complex to be known as The Prairie at Chaffee Crossing. The development is owned by Rodney Ghan and Rick Griffin of Fort Smith. Ghan & Cooper Multifamily will manage the property.

“When we bought the property in 2015, we felt sure it would be a good investment because people would want to be near the growth in Chaffee Crossing. With all the new businesses, educational opportunities, and amenities now in place, it will be even more appealing,” Ghan said.

There are now 42 residential neighborhoods of all types in Chaffee Crossing. The total number
of units exceed 4,200 with multi-family units accounting for 62% of those. Other 2022 highlights noted in the annual report include:
• 44 residential neighborhoods with 4,221 planned units (an 8% increase);
• A current direct job count of 3,601 with projected jobs at 4,571 (an 18.5% increase);
• A new event venue, duplexes, and commercial spaces in the Chaffee Crossing Historic District;
• Plans for new trails; and
• A new dog park to be developed by FCRA, the City of Fort Smith and Sebastian County.

“We are all very happy with the progress made in Chaffee Crossing this past year. Despite the outside threat of high interest rates, we anticipate 2023 being an even better year,” Mann said.

Of the approximate 7,000 acres turned over to local communities for redevelopment after the  the U.S. Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended the closure of Fort Chaffee in 1995, 1,064 acres of marketed property and 393 acres of public space for parks and green space – roughly 20% – was still available at the end of December, according to the FCRA.

The Arkansas legislature formed the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority in 1997 to oversee the development of the land with the primary goals of returning the property to the tax rolls, replacing the 700 jobs lost when Fort Chaffee closed, creating residential developments with quality of life and recreational attractions.