Conway Studies Proposal for 400,000-SF Shopping Center

by Lee Hogan  on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 12:21 pm  

Plans by a North Carolina company to put a 400,000-SF shopping center east of Interstate 40 at the intersection of Amity Road and Dave Ward Drive in Conway. City officials say preliminary plans for the center have changed since this iteration.

Another large-scale shopping center could be on the way to Conway, as the city studies a North Carolina real estate firm's plans for a 400,000 SF development in the southeast corner of Amity Road and Dave Ward Drive.

Wes Craiglow, Conway's deputy director of planning and development, said city officials have been in talks with representatives of Collett of Charlotte, N.C., for about a year and are inching closer to a finished site plan, which Craiglow estimated to be 80 percent complete.

"That means how we are going to layout the 60 acres of property," he said. "That includes traffic flow, parking, aesthetics and shop locations."

The proposed shopping center, located just east of Interstate 40, is listed on the commercial real estate company's website under its "properties" tab. City officials said the property is owned by the Lewis Family and Rush-Hal Properties.

In an online property listing on its website, Collett included a promotional flyer, dated Aug. 27, which included pictures of Sam's Club and Bed Bath & Beyond. The flyer, which was removed from the site Thursday morning, also showed a preliminary site plan with various major anchor stores and outparcels.

Craiglow said no businesses are confirmed for the site, and added that the site plan being worked on is different than the preliminary plan included in the Collett advertorial. But Craiglow said it was "safe to say" some businesses that might have been mentioned are "interested in securing contracts."

The still-to-be-finished site plan includes about 350,000 to 400,000 SF of primary shopping, but the overall property could encompass closer to 450,000 SF when outparcels for other shops, banks and restaurants are factored in, Craiglow said.

No rezoning ordinances have been filed as of yet, but Craiglow said city officials anticipate the developer to apply for C-3 and planned unit development (PUD) zoning for the property. 

While the specifics on which stores might make their way to the shopping center are unknown, there is a "clear understanding" on what the traffic demands in the area will be, Craiglow said. With the completion of a traffic study in the area, proposed improvements include the widening of Dave Ward Drive to four lanes between Amity Road and Thomas G. Wilson Drive. 

Craiglow said a section of Amity Road is also planned to be widened to four lanes along the western side of the property. Talks have also included re-dedicating Amity Road, currently overseen by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department as part of the I-40 right-of-way, to the city.

Craiglow said a redesign of the I-40 off-ramp onto East Dave Ward Drive has also been proposed, and could include a large roundabout.

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