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Conway’s Lewis Crossing Nears Completion

3 min read

One of the big puzzle pieces in Conway’s retail development picture is almost complete: Lewis Crossing, the 441,871-SF, $65 million shopping center at the southeast corner of Interstate 40 and Dave Ward Drive.

Although its main anchor, the city’s first Sam’s Club, has yet to open, a number of other stores are complete and either open or expected to open within the next week or two. Those include Academy Sports, Bed Bath & Beyond, Books-A-Million, Dollar Tree, Michael’s, Petco, Ross Dress for Less and Ulta.

“Construction is near completion,” said Roger Cole of Elrod Real Estate of Little Rock, the local leasing agent for Lewis Crossing. And other smaller buildings in the center are “substantially complete,” he said, adding that Collett & Associates of Charlotte, North Carolina, the project’s developer, will be turning those over to tenants in the next 30 days so they can begin finish-out work.

Construction has begun on a couple of outparcels, including the restaurant On the Border. David’s Burgers, the local chain headed by David “Alan” Bubbus, will also be opening at Lewis Crossing. It will be the chain’s second restaurant in Conway and eighth overall.

Cole said the 136,580-SF Sam’s Club hadn’t given him a date when it might open. “But I would imagine in the not-too-distant future,” he said. “They’re fairly far along too.”

Construction on the project began just a little over a year ago. C.R. Crawford Construction of Fayetteville was the contractor, and Garrett Excavating of Hot Springs did the site work.

“We understand that Sam’s is still a few months away from opening,” said Jamie Gates, executive vice president of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lewis Crossing is on the site of the former Lewis Livestock Auction Co. at Amity Road and Dave Ward Drive. The auction company closed in 2013.

The city made improvements to Dave Ward Drive to facilitate development of the project, replacing a couple of stoplights with roundabouts.

The Lewis Crossing development and the jobs it’s bringing to the area were among the factors prompting the Conway Department of Workforce Services to hold a job fair Sept. 1, the Log Cabin Democrat reported, and more than 370 people and 34 businesses participated.

Another big retail development planned for Conway is the Shoppes at Central Landing, part of a mixed-use development of Conway’s 151-acre former municipal airport, which closed in January 2015. Jim Wilson & Associates of Montgomery, Alabama, is developing the Shoppes at Central Landing, and a Dillard’s store had been announced as the key anchor.

Gates said extensive roadwork was underway at the site. A new overpass that will connect Central Landing with Conway Commons, the 600,000-SF shopping center near I-40 off of Exit 127, is expected to open at the end of the year or early next year, he said.

Gates said Jim Wilson & Associates was still working on lining up stores. “I wouldn’t expect any private construction activity until the bulk of the roadwork is finished,” he said.

As for other retail development in the city, Gates said Oak Street was seeing a lot of infill development lot by lot, including a Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel and a Chipotle Mexican Grill. New businesses are going in on Dave Ward Drive near the University of Central Arkansas, such as a Starbucks, Conway’s third stand-alone Starbucks.

To the south of Lewis Crossing across I-40 is the new $150 million Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway, which opened for business on Sept 16.

Asked what was behind the surge in retail development in Conway, Gates said the city, with about 65,000 residents, had achieved a “critical mass populationwise. Conway is the secondary job market in the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metro. We do have our own economy. Most people who live in Faulkner County work in Faulkner County.”

In addition, Gates said, Conway serves the health care and retail needs of the population in the surrounding area.

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