Conway Reimagined For $100M And Change

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

“We’re working on the layout and retailer mix of the master plan we will submit to the city,” Lacy said. “We’ve had people ask us, ‘When can you start moving dirt?’ We have some retailers wanting to be open by Christmas 2016.”

An appraisal by Richard A. Stephens & Associates Inc. of Little Rock valued the future Central Landing site at between $8.39 million and $9.09 million. However, the city agreed to sell the old airport for $6.1 million to the high bidder: Cantrell Field Joint Venture LLC.

“There was no way to make that project viable if you pay $9 million or $10 million for it,” Lacy said. “It doesn’t work without some municipal investment in the streets. Without that, it won’t be the highest and best use, I can promise you that.”

Rush-Hal Development LLC made an unsuccessful $5.8 million bid for the property. The Conway development firm led by Rush Harding III and Hal Crafton does have a nearly 16-acre piece of the Lewis Crossing site.

Proceeds from the pending airport property sale have to be invested in the new airport project.

First Right

The Central Landing project could expand beyond its current boundaries. Conway Development Corp. has the first right of refusal on an adjoining 50 acres owned by the city. Of this property, 20 acres is tied up in a long-term lease with Acxiom Corp.

The city has agreed to fund up to $18 million in street construction around Central Landing that will improve the road network and relieve traffic congestion in other parts of Conway.

Building an overpass to connect the property with Elsinger Boulevard on the east side of I-40 will be an important piece of the roadwork puzzle.

The involvement of Conway Development Corp. was motivated by community business leaders wanting to have a local voice to help shape decisions that will affect not only the Central Landing project but Conway.

“That’s the big thing that we bring,” Lacy said regarding the desire to have a seat at the table. “This is where we live and do business.

“There’s really a bigger thing at stake with the [old] airport. How it is developed will have a huge impact on the city. Geographically, the property sits in a place that will redefine the city if it’s done properly.”



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