Conway Reimagined For $100M And Change

by George Waldon  on Monday, Mar. 17, 2014 12:00 am  

Tandem retail projects in Conway are poised to reshape the commercial landscape along Interstate 40.

The biggest on the drawing board is Central Landing, a mixed-use redevelopment of the 151-acre municipal airport with a 750,000-SF lifestyle center. The project, considered to be the largest ever in Conway, is envisioned as a $100 million endeavor that will also feature apartments and office buildings.

Less than a mile from Dennis F. Cantrell Field’s southernmost runway, a 60-acre site at the southeast corner of I-40 and Dave Ward Drive is undergoing planning review for a retail center dubbed, for now, Lewis Crossing.

“You’re going to see major, major retailing expansion in the market,” said Brad Lacy, president of Conway Development Corp. “When you come back in five years, you’re going to see a very different Conway.”

One preliminary site plan reflects a nearly 442,000-SF “power center” layout with about 414,000 SF devoted to nine large retailers and 28,000 SF designated for smaller shops.

A downsized, more detailed configuration of Lewis Crossing totals about 365,000 SF, including a 135,500-SF Sam’s Club, 62,000-SF Academy Sports, 25,000-SF Ross Dress for Less, 23,400-SF Bed Bath & Beyond and a 12,500-SF Petco.

Smaller tenants include a 10,000-SF Ulta beauty products store and five clothing boutiques: 7,000-SF Altar’d State, 4,500-SF Loft, 4,000-SF Jos. A. Banks, 3,500-SF Chico’s and 4,000-SF Carter’s.

If the smaller design materializes, the project represents about $36.5 million worth of construction. The estimate climbs to $41 million for the larger vision. Development of seven outparcels will push the dollar total higher still.

Adding to the development activity along a 2-mile stretch of I-40 in southern Conway is a 100-bed hospital. Little Rock’s Baptist Health intends to build the facility on 37.5 acres on the west side of I-40, less than a half-mile south of Lewis Crossing.

Construction of the 200,000-SF Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway is set to start this summer with completion scheduled for 2016. Baptist invested $10.6 million to assemble the site. Estimated constructions costs could add another $50 million.

Collett & Associates LLC of Charlotte, N.C., could also break ground this summer on Lewis Crossing if it pushes through the rezoning, site plan review, replatting and building code review process.

“After that, they can be off to the races with the building permit,” said Wes Craiglow, Conway’s deputy director of planning and development.



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