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RemusCal

Urban Core in Northwest Arkansas?

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Where would be the best place for a central downtown area with Skyscrapers in Northwest Arkansas?

I would tend to think Fayetteville would be the best place just because we have more urban dwellers there. I think a great place would be where I-540 meets Fulbright Expressway on the land NE of that. It is a huge piece of land that stretches over near the mall. This could be a great place to add some skyscapers. Think about the view you would have of the mountains. It would be incredible. Anyhow, we need some type of central downtown and Dickson Street is wonderful, but not really an urban feel directly. Also, Fayetteville would be great due to the fact that it is in a wet county. That way, you can have restaurants and bars.

Anyway, what are your opinions?

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Where would be the best place for a central downtown area with Skyscrapers in Northwest Arkansas?

I would tend to think Fayetteville would be the best place just because we have more urban dwellers there.  I think a great place would be where I-540 meets Fulbright Expressway on the land NE of that.  It is a huge piece of land that stretches over near the mall.  This could be a great place to add some skyscapers.  Think about the view you would have of the mountains.  It would be incredible.  Anyhow, we need some type of central downtown and Dickson Street is wonderful, but not really an urban feel directly.  Also, Fayetteville would be great due to the fact that it is in a wet county.  That way, you can have restaurants and bars. 

Anyway, what are your opinions?

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I don't think any place in NWA really lends itself well. The most urban part of NWA no doubt is Fayetteville, particularly around the Square and Dickson. The problem is Fayetteville also plays a less important economic role compared to Benton Co and Springdale and really doesn't need much additional office space. In addition, putting up some modern office buildings might damage the old-town character the area has now. All of the need for office space is in Benton Co because of Wal-Mart and there are some ambitious mid-rise office buildings planned for the area, including (last I heard) a pair of twin 20ish story towers near Wal Mart HQs in Bentonville.

Ideally, I guess an office development near NWA's center - in Rogers, Springdale, or especially Lowell that could provide a central business district would be great. The nature of NWA's growth, though, will be largely suburban sprawl (central Fayettevilel aside). The entertainment and business areas are too widely separated to create a true "downtown NWA".

Fayetteville's cool enough without a bunch of office buildings, anyway.

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I would think trying to create a downtown would likely not produce the desired urban core sought after.

Skyscrapers tend to come when land becomes available in pre-established urban cores, ie urban renewal that takes out old structures and leaves parking lots. Those parking lots are just potential sites for future buildings of some sort or another, and IMO about the only real way for a city to progress from low-rise buildings to high-rise.

I just don't think you can just set aside an area of land thats happens to be open and establish a new urban core, rather I think such an attempt would only succeed in establishing a commerical office park that would empty out at the end of the working day; with no supporting infrastructure to make it a real urban core or one that anybody would ever visit if they didn't work there. In other words, I don't think you can build a new downtown from scratch, but I do think you can build commercial office parks with towers, but that is different from an urban core.

I would think from what I read on this forum though that Fayetteville would be the best candidate for an established urban core to see the development of high-rises in its future.

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Where would be the best place for a central downtown area with Skyscrapers in Northwest Arkansas?

I would tend to think Fayetteville would be the best place just because we have more urban dwellers there.  I think a great place would be where I-540 meets Fulbright Expressway on the land NE of that.  It is a huge piece of land that stretches over near the mall.  This could be a great place to add some skyscapers.  Think about the view you would have of the mountains.  It would be incredible.  Anyhow, we need some type of central downtown and Dickson Street is wonderful, but not really an urban feel directly.  Also, Fayetteville would be great due to the fact that it is in a wet county.  That way, you can have restaurants and bars. 

Anyway, what are your opinions?

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I don't think NWA will be getting skyscrapers anytime soon. There are suburban high-rise offices, and will be more of those in the future, but that is the densest commercial development that I can see for the region. "Urban dwellers" don't mean anything if there is no demand for the kind of office space needed for a skyscraper.

There are several reasons for this. One is that the region is composed primarily of four relatively equal communities. They did not develop around one core, as did Little Rock and North Little Rock. Their cores are simply too far apart to have an urban center that reflects the size of the whole region. Secondly, although large by Arkansas standards, and growing rapidly, NWA's MSA still only had a population of 357,963 as of 2003. A metro of that size, especially one so spread out, just doesn't have the need for dense development. Compounding the matter is that the region's corporations are not concentrated in one city. Skyscrapers need major tenants, and the major companies up there aren't going to all locate to one city just to have a major urban core. Finally, as Rural King, pointed out, one can't create an urban core. It has to grow organically from a city's downtown. Since NWA was small for so much of its history, the downtowns in the area are small, and not reflective of the economic strength of the region. As much as I would like to see it become something other than a massive suburbia, I just don't see a major urban core developing.

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I don't think NWA will be getting skyscrapers anytime soon. There are suburban high-rise offices, and will be more of those in the future, but that is the densest commercial development that I can see for the region. "Urban dwellers" don't mean anything if there is no demand for the kind of office space needed for a skyscraper.

There are several reasons for this. One is that the region is composed primarily of four relatively equal communities. They did not develop around one core, as did Little Rock and North Little Rock. Their cores are simply too far apart to have an urban center that reflects the size of the whole region. Secondly, although large by Arkansas standards, and growing rapidly, NWA's MSA still only had a population of 357,963 as of 2003. A metro of that size, especially one so spread out, just doesn't have the need for dense development. Compounding the matter is that the region's corporations are not concentrated in one city. Skyscrapers need major tenants, and the major companies up there aren't going to all locate to one city just to have a major urban core. Finally, as Rural King, pointed out, one can't create an urban core. It has to grow organically from a city's downtown. Since NWA was small for so much of its history, the downtowns in the area are small, and not reflective of the economic strength of the region. As much as I would like to see it become something other than a massive suburbia, I just don't see a major urban core developing.

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Exactly, very informative info. As much as some of us might want a more 'urban' are here in northwest Arkansas I don't see it happening anytime soon. Like Arkansawyer said, this area until recently was rather small. To be honest I think many people are going through a bit of a culture shock. They aren't ready to see this area become an more 'urban' area like Little Rock. And yes it is spread apart and there is still land available to put up many smaller buildings before anyone will probably consider a 'skyscraper'. Even though Fayetteville is still the largest and in some ways a little more 'urban' in some ways than the other cities there isn't as much demand for office space as up in Benton County. That and with it's faster growth I in some ways imagine Rogers might end up developing something before Fayetteville does. But then again who knows, with the way the area is growing it's hard to make predictions. It's also hard to judge when people will begin to better accept that this area is going to become more urban whether people like it or not. It might also depend on whether or not the growth keeps growing at rate it is now or if it will eventually start slowing down.

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Well even if I don't think it will happen anytime very soon I can still discuss other aspects of this topic. RemusCal mentioned a nice place for urban development in the northern part of Fayetteville near I-540. That would be a nice area and I do think Fayetteville could do a better job of developing areas next to I-540. I realize that Fayetteville's topography doesn't help it in some cases around I-540 like some areas like Rogers. But I'm still a little surprised that there isn't more development around I-540. I'm not sure if it would happen there or not. Maybe it's because I always assumed that it would be more likely to happen in the downtown area. There does look to be an office building going up on Joyce St east of the mall. But I don't get the impression it's going to be tall enough to be classified as a skyscraper.

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If Fayetteville were to develop some type of Commercial district near I-540 near the Landers Dealership, I think it would give Fayetteville more of an urban feel. Right now, you drive on I-540 and you think you are in the middle of nowhere. I feel like Fayetteville could support a 20-30 story high rise with condos, an upscale hotel, and more retail. It could be a mixed-use center. I want to see more condo type or apartment high-rise type development instead of a suburb look.

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If Fayetteville were to develop some type of Commercial district near I-540 near the Landers Dealership, I think it would give Fayetteville more of an urban feel.  Right now, you drive on I-540 and you think you are in the middle of nowhere.  I feel like Fayetteville could support a 20-30 story high rise with condos, an upscale hotel, and more retail.  It could be a mixed-use center.  I want to see more condo type or apartment high-rise type development instead of a suburb look.

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The only reason it's not happening is because of Benton County. There's just so much more demand for these types of developments in Benton Co.

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If Fayetteville were to develop some type of Commercial district near I-540 near the Landers Dealership, I think it would give Fayetteville more of an urban feel.  Right now, you drive on I-540 and you think you are in the middle of nowhere.  I feel like Fayetteville could support a 20-30 story high rise with condos, an upscale hotel, and more retail.  It could be a mixed-use center.  I want to see more condo type or apartment high-rise type development instead of a suburb look.

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It is a bit odd that Fayetteville just doesn't seem to be doing much development near I-540 as much as the rest of northwest Arkansas. I think the topography hinders some areas. There's also the endangered fish where the tech park was going to go. But still there are other areas they could take advantage of. But then again at the moment Fayetteville seems to be in an antidevelopment mood recently. Lots of fighting over developments near residential areas. Especially near the Mt Sequoyah area. That and the big condo fight at Beaver Lake seems to really be adding fire to the antidevelopment feeling also.

But anyway I certainly agree with you. I am glad there seems to be a lot of interest in condos. I'd much rather build up than keep spreading out. Although I'm certain many people wouldn't agree up here. I think eventually high rises will eventually come to Fayetteville. But it might be a little while before people are ready to accept them.

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It is a bit odd that Fayetteville just doesn't seem to be doing much development near I-540 as much as the rest of northwest Arkansas.  I think the topography hinders some areas.  There's also the endangered fish where the tech park was going to go.  But still there are other areas they could take advantage of.  But then again at the moment Fayetteville seems to be in an antidevelopment mood recently.  Lots of fighting over developments near residential areas.  Especially near the Mt Sequoyah area.  That and the big condo fight at Beaver Lake seems to really be adding fire to the antidevelopment feeling also. 

But anyway I certainly agree with you.  I am glad there seems to be a lot of interest in condos.  I'd much rather build up than keep spreading out.  Although I'm certain many people wouldn't agree up here.  I think eventually high rises will eventually come to Fayetteville. But it might be a little while before people are ready to accept them.

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You don't want high rises, you wnat mid-rise development near Dickson and the Square similar to what Austin has, keeping everything as pedestrian as possible. Don't do anything to pull things towards 540 and the traffic and away from the old heart of the town. Of course, Fayetteville's topography is uniquely challenging and really has kept development surrounding the campus from occurring in several places.

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You don't want high rises, you wnat mid-rise development near Dickson and the Square similar to what Austin has, keeping everything as pedestrian as possible.  Don't do anything to pull things towards 540 and the traffic and away from the old heart of the town.  Of course, Fayetteville's topography is uniquely challenging and really has kept development surrounding the campus from occurring in several places.

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Yeah there's also a hill ordinance to keep developers from just coming in and bulldozing those pesky hills that are in the way. But I like the topography, it help gives Fayetteville a unique feel.

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Yeah there's also a hill ordinance to keep developers from just coming in and bulldozing those pesky hills that are in the way.  But I like the topography, it help gives Fayetteville a unique feel.

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I wish Little Rock would be a little more protective of its hills. A big one in North Little Rock near Wild River Country was bulldozed to make way for an office park and another off of Cantrell in West LR was dozed to build a big retail center (the one with Parisian Dept Store, etc). On the flip side, though, there was a big rally to stop the building of the super-sized Summit Mall, a misnomer as a million tons of dirt were to be moved to flatten the hill to build the mall. If the mall is ever built as planned it will have to be built further south at Colonel Glenn Road, where Simon Properties has acquired some land.

The area I was thinking would otherwise be office-heavy is on the other side of the square from Dickson where the hill is rather steep. If it were flatter, that would be a great place for a commercial district.

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I wish Little Rock would be a little more protective of its hills.  A big one in North Little Rock near Wild River Country was bulldozed to make way for an office park and another off of Cantrell in West LR was dozed to build a big retail center (the one with Parisian Dept Store, etc).  On the flip side, though, there was a big rally to stop the building of the super-sized Summit Mall, a misnomer as a million tons of dirt were to be moved to flatten the hill to build the mall.  If the mall is ever built as planned it will have to be built further south at Colonel Glenn Road, where Simon Properties has acquired some land.

The area I was thinking would otherwise be office-heavy is on the other side of the square from Dickson where the hill is rather steep.  If it were flatter, that would be a great place for a commercial district.

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I agree, I realize things are easier to build on flat land. But if I wanted everything flat I could move to southern or eastern Arkansas. I enjoy the hills here in Fayetteville. They can sometimes cause a few problems in the wintertime, but I've been here long enough to know ways to get to most of the places I want and bypass the steeper hills.

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