Winery and coffee roasting operation, pre-school planned for Chaffee Crossing

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,280 views 

The Fort Chaffee Development Authority (FCRA) Board of Trustees approved the sale of two buildings in the Historic District at Chaffee Crossing for use as winery, cidery and coffee roasting business and tasting room during its regular meeting Thursday (Feb. 16).

Monte Cervino Beverage of Colorado Springs, Colo., offered to purchase Buildings 306 and 307 at 7801 Ellis St., in the Chaffee Crossing Entertainment District, for $600,000. The buildings now house the FCRA media center and maintenance facility.

Daniel Mann, FCRA executive director and CEO, said the company has agreed to work with FCRA to allow them to continue holding the monthly board of trustees meetings and to store some of equipment until FCRA moves its offices into new facilities at The Barracks at Chaffee sometime in the future.

Monte Cervino produces Boxing Brothers Ciderhouse, Little Red, and Two Sicilians, and has a few new products in development. Founder and CEO Matt Bono, who was born in Prairie Grove, said when they saw the Chaffee Crossing location, they decided it was time to come home. Though the company will have locations across the country, Fort Smith will become their headquarters.

Bono said initial investment estimates are about $1 million a year for the first three years. The company expects to open by the end of the year but hopes to be open in the summer, he said. Once open, they will employ about 20 in a mix of manufacturing and retail positions.

This is the second Colorado Springs-based company to announce opening in Chaffee Crossing. In October, the board approved the $676,000 sale of Building 339 and 5.32 acres to Axe and the Oak Distillery. The 49,000-square-foot former military laundry facility will be a whiskey distillery and tasting room that may be open by June or July, said co-owner Casey Ross.

“But we will be happy if we can be open by the end of the year. Right now, it’s all up to the contractor,” Ross said Thursday.

Axe and Oak was  formed by three whiskey aficionados and friends — Jason Jackson, Ross and Eric Baldini – in 2013 in Colorado. The Chaffee Crossing facility will be an expansion of their business, Ross said. Ross said he is friends of Bono and familiar with Monte Cervino in Colorado and believes the facility will be a good fit for Chaffee Crossing.

Distilleries are not all that is coming to Chaffee Crossing. Goddard School broke ground Wednesday (Feb. 15) at 9040 Massard Road in Chaffee Crossing on a new preschool and daycare slated to open in the fall. The property, owned by Shire, Inc., will be leased to Emily and Daniel Lunney and Brooks Coatney, the partners who will open the franchise preschool. The franchise investment is approximately $800,000, Coatney said, not counting the lease of the 10,000-square-feet facility.

(from left) Emily and Daniel Lunney and Brooks Coatney at groundbreaking Wednesday (Feb. 15).

Covenant Commercial Construction is the supervising contractor for the project. Mickle Wagner Coleman Inc. is the engineer.

The Goddard School is a national brand with the nearest location in Fayetteville. Coatney, who opened a Goddard School in Fayetteville more than five years ago, said this will be the sixth Goddard School in Arkansas. Headquartered in King of Prussia, Penn., Goddard licenses more than 600 Goddard School franchises with more than 75,000 students in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

The preschool will accept between 145-150 children ages six months through pre-kindergarten when it opens, Coatney said. Early enrollment has begun. The school will employ about 30 teachers and caregivers. Rates will begin at about $1,195 a month for infants and decline as the child grows older to about $990 for preschool, Coatney said.

Lorie Robertson, FCRA director of marketing, said there are 1,297 residential units of varying types from the corner of Massard Road and Chad Colley south to the end of the Chaffee Crossing boundary. There are 4,221 residential units in Chaffee Crossing, she said.