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mcheiss

Possible $50 Million Massive Downtown Development in Lowell

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I don't know if any of you have heard this, but there is a proposed $ 50 million downtown development on 30 acres in downtown Lowell, through a TIF (Tax Increment Finance) project.

Dixie Development of Fayetteville has purchase options for several properties on Monroe Avenue and Lincoln Street, and it is negotiating to buy nearly 10 acres of city-owned land. It wants to build 300, 000 square feet of retail, office and residential space, according to Ben Israel, chief executive officer of Dixie Development. The tax increment finance plan will be presented Tuesday to the Lowell City Council. The plan would finance as much as $ 12 million worth of infrastructure improvements, including some projects that could benefit downtown.

Two- and three-story buildings would house retail shopping and restaurants on the first floors, with office space and loft apartments on upper floors. The development would use streetscape-style designs that feature buildings close to streets and sidewalks. Parking would be mostly behind the buildings, much like the Three Sisters Development in Fayetteville.

The buildings will likely have a historic theme, according to the developers. The plans also include an upscale restaurant in a train station-style building next to the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad tracks. The streets will be cobblestone or brick, it will have a lot of walking traffic and a lot of landscape and buildings that have an older town look but are new buildings. A fountain plaza as the focal point of a new downtown that will feature winding roads and wide walkways.

I must say that I am extremly happy that something like this is being looked at seriously. I know this isn't the first time, but I hope it gets developed this time. The only problem I have with this is the developer. Dixe Development has been known to be kind of cheap up here in Benton County. Hopefully a lot of time and money are invested properly into this project to make a centralized downtown in Northwest Arkansas. This project will also be visible from I-540.

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I don't believe in TIFs in areas that are already very attractive for developers. I think TIFs should be used in older areas of town to encourage redevelopment. The Rogers School District has the most to lose from this and it is a bit unfair that Lowell could cheat Rogers that way and get away with it because it lacks its own school system.

I worry that Benton Co is getting overbuilt, especially for retail/commercial. I'm not sure if Lowell could support this yet though I love the location. I do understand their push for an identity, though, and the need for a real downtown. I like mixed use developments as well and in denser areas like downtown Fayetteville this would be optimal. Would people pay high apartment rents to live in a mixed use development when more reasonably priced nice apartments are so abundant nearby? I would just worry this would be a flop.

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Yeah I just saw that today in the paper. It sounds interesting but I do have to agree with Aporkalypse. I just wonder about using TIFs like this. As aporkalypse pointed out this area was already attractive to developers. It seems to me that TIFs are more for redeveloping decaying areas of cities. I also wonder what Rogers is going to think of this.

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I went back and read the article in today's paper. I had only skimmed it earlier. Sounds like a pretty nice development. While I might question how it's being done, I certainly can't say that it's not a nice sounding development. They even mentioned the possibility of cobblestone roads, or at least brick.

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I went back and read the article in today's paper. I had only skimmed it earlier. Sounds like a pretty nice development. While I might question how it's being done, I certainly can't say that it's not a nice sounding development. They even mentioned the possibility of cobblestone roads, or at least brick.

I agree, nothing sounded cheaply done at all. I understand the complaints about Dixie but if they adhere to what they are planning it would be really nice. My concern would only be that tenants might not be willing to pay the rent at a premium with an abundance of cheaper space around and few "loyal" to Lowell the way they are to the big 4 NWA cities.

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how tall are these buildings going to be? because they will have to be atleast 5 to 7 stories to be barely visible from I 540

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