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Arkansas State, Haag Brown Partner for 26-Acre Commercial Development Project

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A partnership between Arkansas State University and Haag Brown Commercial of Jonesboro is eying a 26-acre tract in northeast Jonesboro for commercial development.

The land, located north of the intersection of Red Wolf Boulevard, Arkansas 49 and Johnson Avenue, is owned by A-State. The university had expressed interest in finding a commercial development partner for the land, and Haag Brown responded with a detailed development plan.

“We are excited about working on what we feel will be the most impactful retail development in an area where growth in Jonesboro is headed,” Joshua Brown, Haag Brown Commercial principal, said in a news release. “As an alumnus of A-State, I know how this will enhance both the university and the community of students, faculty and staff that make up Arkansas State.”

Brown told Arkansas Business the property has the potential for $30 million to $40 million in commercial development.

“Our goal is to help (A-State) maximize every single cent out of every single piece of real estate,” Brown said.

Shawnie Carrier, A-State Chancellor Tim Hudson’s chief of staff, agreed with Brown.

“We are interested in leveraging university assets to generate revenue and contribute to the growing northeast Arkansas economy,” Carrier said in a statement. “We are doing everything possible to make up for flat state funding.”

The idea is for the majority of the property to be a mix of retailers and restaurants. While there have been no announcements on tenants, Haag Brown says it has already begun meeting with prospects. Brown said the company is interested attracting “exciting” restaurants and retailers that excel in the university setting.

There’s also the possibility for mixed-use development; Brown said current zoning allows for high-end condominiums. Brown referenced The Village at Hendrix as an example, where high-end commercial property occupies the bottom floor, while high-end condos occupy the upper floors.

“I really like that small piece of development,” he said. “If we could do a small site like that, it would be nice. It’s not like anything the university has right now.”

Brown added that an advantage of the property is a wealth of frontage space. 

“In most developments, the most valuable is the outparcels,” he said. “This is almost all outparcel. We’ve got twice the frontage of a 200-acre development next door.”

While Brown said large retailers more than likely won’t be viable options, small strip centers, banks, restaurants and mixed-use tenants are all possibilities.

The next six months will hold a lot of planning for Haag Brown and A-State.

“One of the things we hope to do different with this development … is, as we go through the planning, to have businesses committed to the site,” Brown said. “We’re planning on having (them committed) and going through the work with them.”

The Commercial Boom in Jonesboro

In October 2013, Arkansas Business took an in-depth look at the millions of dollars invested commercially in Jonesboro as the NEA Baptist Medical Center came online in late 2013 at 4800 E. Johnson. The article cites more than $354 million in commercial construction, much of it along the Red Wolf Boulevard corridor.

Included in the story was a 200-acre development, located just north of the Haag Brown-Arkansas State development. The plot was purchased for about $5.4 million by the Greensboro Investments LLC of Jonesboro, run by Mickey Seeman and John Conner, from the Frank Snellgrove family.

Halsey Thrasher Harpole of Jonesboro has been hired to oversee the development, called Greensborough Village Town Center.

The master plan includes retail — both small shops and lifestyle centers — banking, restaurants, hotel, grocery, medical office, pharmaceuticals, assisted living and multi-family homes and single-family homes.

“You don’t just find 200-acre tracts half a mile from Medical Mile, half a mile from Baptist Medical and across the street from Arkansas State University,” Gary Harpole, managing partner of the commercial real estate and development company, told Arkansas Business in August. “This piece of land begged for something special, not just to develop the first 300 feet and see what happens.”

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