$17.15M land purchase sets stage for 200-acre new urbanism project in Rogers

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 17,489 views 

A 202-acre pastureland site west of Interstate 49 in Benton County is in line for a significant development project over the next decade.

A local investment group closed a deal in June to buy the Warren family farm property in Rogers for $17.15 million. West Pleasant Grove Road borders the land to the north. West Garrett Road is the property’s southern boundary.

John Schmelzle of Rogers, a real estate developer, and his wife Kristen Boozman, owner and principal broker of Portfolio Sotheby’s International Realty in Rogers, led the development group’s acquisition and are part of the investment group. They plan to create a master-planned, mixed-use neighborhood utilizing new urbanism design practices. It will be called Warren Park.

Schmelzle said he’s been working on the plan for two years. He explained that Warren Park’s concept is to create one of the region’s first modern Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TND). Nuanced design elements will include a walkable network of tree-lined streets, a downtown section for uses such as local, chef-driven restaurants, a bakery, an after-school center, creative and medical office space, a place of worship and open public spaces where neighbors can gather for a farmer’s market, live music or evening movies in the park.

He said Warren Park would have a range of housing prices and types: smaller cottage court bungalows, rowhomes, townhomes, midrise condos, urban lofts over commercial, mid-size family homes and large executive estates.

“Over the medium to long term, we have a housing shortage in Northwest Arkansas,” said Schmelzle, a Rogers Planning Commission member. “As you zoom out from an aerial image, you see very few large sections of open palette left to develop.

“The Warren family farm presents a unique opportunity to curate something special in the heart of Northwest Arkansas’ growth.”

Schmelzle said Warren Park would be a “natural extension” of the existing community rather than a gated enclave, providing housing options across various incomes and demographics.

“I like to say we want the CEO and the server at the local restaurant to be able to live in the same neighborhood,” he said. “We accomplish this by offering a variety of housing types and sizes.”

He said the development group intends to build out much of the housing by working with Bentonville-based HHC Homes.

The deal was completed with an all-cash transaction.

“The Warrens had no shortage of interested buyers, but ultimately, they cared deeply about the legacy of the land and seeing a vibrant, traditional neighborhood come to life on their family farm,” Boozman said. “We were able to create an exceptional plan and find like-minded investment partners to execute it.”

OWN Engineering (formerly Anderson Engineering) is working on the site plan. Ernie Deaton, a Cooper Communities engineer for most of his career, is leading the work. Dover, Kohl & Partners, an urban planning firm based in Florida, has also worked extensively with Schmelzle on the project in the initial design phase.

Schmelzle said he hopes to file a large-scale development plan with the city before the end of the year.

“We will develop the land in phases, but not in linear phases,” he said.

Although he didn’t disclose a specific amount, Schmelzle characterized Warren Park’s project value to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.