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mzweig

Infill projects in downtown Fayetteville

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Guys--I have sold a number of houses for $300+ per foot in downtown Fayetteville over the last 10 years.  Yes they are expensive but my costs to buy and renovate to the standard we do them is very high.  Not really worried about the price of either of these two--one is $819K and the other $899K but with optional detached garage apt and pool house with kitchen, bath and FP takes it to $1.1 million. Not a huge market for what we do but it is there.  We just sold a house at Summit Place (not as good as one block off Dickson) that is 1500 sq feet above grade for $393K.  It does have a roughly 500 sq ft partly-finished basement, too, but that is not valued at same $ per square foot.  You want a condo for $300+ per foot or a single family house that is super high quality?  The house usually wins.....

 

Mark

 

 

Yeah, Mark does great stuff.  It is a niche market in Fayetteville for now, but he wouldn't be in business if his plans didn't work.

Edited by wmr
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I really wish I could build a more affordable product.  I can't do it downtown.  I am paying $100/ft for total wrecks (when I'm lucky).  I just had someone in Wash Willow try to sell me a house that needs to be redone for over $200/ft.  How can I redo it, pay interest and real estate commissions and come out on that?  We are working hard to reduce our costs, though....but it isn't easy!

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Part of the inflation comes from your own comps! Tough to continually redevelop an area in which you've been so successful. Keep fighting the good fight as you are certainly delivering a top notch product.

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Driving around downtown earlier today, a few things came to mind.  

 

1.  Whoever used that lot on Block to build a single-story office building wasted a lot of potential there.  They still haven't been able to lease it out.  If anything there is probably an excess of office space downtown.  Meanwhile, restaurant and bar space is at a premium.  Even if they had just built 3500 SF of restaurant space, they'd be knocking down high rents every month.  Missed opportunity, completely.

 

2.  EJ Ball bldg:  I have no idea what the occupancy rate is, but that building makes sense to me to be renovated into residential.  Rentals.  Look around at all of the new apartments being built in the downtown area.  Couldn't that building be renovated into apartments for less than it costs to build new on a per unit basis?  I have no idea.  Obviously for it to work, there would need to be a parking garage attached.  The lot west of EJ Ball along Church is city owned I think.  The city needs to collaborate with a developer to build a parking garage there with storefronts along Center at least, maybe along Church, too.

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Driving around downtown earlier today, a few things came to mind.  

 

1.  Whoever used that lot on Block to build a single-story office building wasted a lot of potential there.  They still haven't been able to lease it out.  If anything there is probably an excess of office space downtown.  Meanwhile, restaurant and bar space is at a premium.  Even if they had just built 3500 SF of restaurant space, they'd be knocking down high rents every month.  Missed opportunity, completely.

 

2.  EJ Ball bldg:  I have no idea what the occupancy rate is, but that building makes sense to me to be renovated into residential.  Rentals.  Look around at all of the new apartments being built in the downtown area.  Couldn't that building be renovated into apartments for less than it costs to build new on a per unit basis?  I have no idea.  Obviously for it to work, there would need to be a parking garage attached.  The lot west of EJ Ball along Church is city owned I think.  The city needs to collaborate with a developer to build a parking garage there with storefronts along Center at least, maybe along Church, too.

I like that idea on the EJ Ball Bldg.  As long as they were able to keep prices down and not try to cater them just to a very small group of potential renters.

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I like that idea on the EJ Ball Bldg.  As long as they were able to keep prices down and not try to cater them just to a very small group of potential renters.

 

I'm all for whatever the market dictates.  If prices remain high downtown, it only means more infill and better buildings.  I'm totally fine with downtown being the upmarket neighborhood of town.  In most healthy cities, that is the case.  

 

It just struck me that we had a developer waste space building new one-story office on Block Ave (which is still For Lease) while we have under-used office space downtown already.  I looked it up and it appears that there is 25,000 SF of space available in EJ Ball.  With a garage next door, maybe even one that is partially available for public use, and storefronts along Church and Center, imagine what an amazing anchor that block could be for downtown.

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Were there ever any announced plans for the old Mountain Inn property?  I remember that it finally sold, but I'm not sure if they ever settled on a plan for the space, or if they is any traction on moving forward with a project?

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Were there ever any announced plans for the old Mountain Inn property?  I remember that it finally sold, but I'm not sure if they ever settled on a plan for the space, or if they is any traction on moving forward with a project?

 

When the property sold (for a song, IMO) the owner said he had plans for retail/hotel development, but also that he didn't think anything would happen with it for at least 18 months.  It was apparently purchased by a company in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  That spot isn't as desireable as EJ Ball would be to the right developer.  EJ Ball has the benefit of being square adjacent, having large areas for parking or garage development next door, and is walkable from a larger area of downtown.  Because of College Ave and the steep drop off in topography just past the courthouse, the Mountain Inn site isn't as attractive for storefronts or from a walkability standpoint.  I realize they are only about four blocks apart, but I think it makes a difference.

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When the property sold (for a song, IMO) the owner said he had plans for retail/hotel development, but also that he didn't think anything would happen with it for at least 18 months.  It was apparently purchased by a company in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  That spot isn't as desireable as EJ Ball would be to the right developer.  EJ Ball has the benefit of being square adjacent, having large areas for parking or garage development next door, and is walkable from a larger area of downtown.  Because of College Ave and the steep drop off in topography just past the courthouse, the Mountain Inn site isn't as attractive for storefronts or from a walkability standpoint.  I realize they are only about four blocks apart, but I think it makes a difference.

The costs to retrofit EJ Ball into residential are insane. Plus, no functioning windows, so no fresh air. To get windows that open, you have to tear out the exterior bricks. It has been considered, but it is over the top costly. Plus, zero parking.

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The costs to retrofit EJ Ball into residential are insane. Plus, no functioning windows, so no fresh air. To get windows that open, you have to tear out the exterior bricks. It has been considered, but it is over the top costly. Plus, zero parking.

That makes sense.  I still think the city should partner with someone to garage one of their lots on Church and redevelop the other.  

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If we are pitching parking decks adjacent to Ball, He's my pitch for a façade that ties in with the square

 

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If we are pitching parking decks adjacent to Ball, He's my pitch for a façade that ties in with the square

 

 

That's amazing, so its far too much to ask of the present city govt in any collaboration.  They try to legislate LEED crap (which is falling out of favor everywhere due to it being extremely flawed long term) but don't have much understanding of charm or civic beauty.

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Wish something, anything would happen to the old hotel building.  Clear it, build a parking lot, residential, office, hotel, government, something.  Looks bad just sitting like it is, year after year...

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Sounds like an interesting project is in the works for the old Dickson Theater building.  Lots of rumors indicating that it will be a 3 story building replacing the existing building, that will include an independent film theater, as well as the church that has been meeting there (Christ Community Church I believe) and a upstairs bar of some sort.  I have no idea what the plan (if any) is for parking.  But I do know that Marlin Blackwell is designing the project.  It's an awfully tight space with limited access and a small footprint with which to work.  Shoud be interesting see what happens here.  Could be a very nice addition to the street if it happens. 

 

Also have noticed some activity recently at the old 36 Club building.  The for sale signs have come down this week and there's been a lot of moving stuff in and out of there.  Maybe some signs of life there?

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Sounds like an interesting project is in the works for the old Dickson Theater building.  Lots of rumors indicating that it will be a 3 story building replacing the existing building, that will include an independent film theater, as well as the church that has been meeting there (Christ Community Church I believe) and a upstairs bar of some sort.  I have no idea what the plan (if any) is for parking.  But I do know that Marlin Blackwell is designing the project.  It's an awfully tight space with limited access and a small footprint with which to work.  Shoud be interesting see what happens here.  Could be a very nice addition to the street if it happens. 

 

Also have noticed some activity recently at the old 36 Club building.  The for sale signs have come down this week and there's been a lot of moving stuff in and out of there.  Maybe some signs of life there?

 

Wow, that sounds cool.  Keep us posted if you hear anything else.  As downtown fills in, lots of Dickson Street has started looking really "short" to me.  3-5 stories in the Dickson Street area is deal, IMO.

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I heard someone talking about the Dickson Theater project, but they were under the impression that it would be a 4-5 story building.  Does anybody know what the height limit is for that lot?  The city council has obfuscated the height-limit with too many different regulations, IMO.  Someone should propose rolling back some of the recent laws.

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I heard someone talking about the Dickson Theater project, but they were under the impression that it would be a 4-5 story building.  Does anybody know what the height limit is for that lot?  The city council has obfuscated the height-limit with too many different regulations, IMO.  Someone should propose rolling back some of the recent laws.

I think that area has a maximum height of either 58 feet or 6 stories.  I might be a little bit off but it's somewhere in that ballpark.  Yes, I absolutely despise those laws and wish they would adjust them upward or something.  There is only so much room in downtown Fayetteville.  They don't want you to build up but they don't want sprawl either.  If I had the time I would at least try and get onto the planning commission but I've got storms to chase... ;)

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I saw where Marlon Blackwell bought the lot at the corner of Center and College Ave, where a bar called Stolen Glass was located a while back.

 

Might not mean anything is going there anytime soon, but who knows.

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Seems like I remember hearing something about this area a while back, but now I can't find it.  Anyway I've noticed someone is tearing down a couple of warehouses near Hill Ave-Wynstone Dr intersection just north of the Tsa-La-Gi Trail.  Anyone know what's going on there?

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I saw where Marlon Blackwell bought the lot at the corner of Center and College Ave, where a bar called Stolen Glass was located a while back.

 

Might not mean anything is going there anytime soon, but who knows.

I hope he tears that building down and builds new. It might have some historical value or be representative of some style but it is very unattractive, imo. It would be  good location for one of his unique designs.

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I hope he tears that building down and builds new. It might have some historical value or be representative of some style but it is very unattractive, imo. It would be  good location for one of his unique designs.

 

I agree.  I've come around on my feelings about his work.  I'd be ok with him putting 6-8 stories of glass there as long as it was something with a little style.

Seems like I remember hearing something about this area a while back, but now I can't find it.  Anyway I've noticed someone is tearing down a couple of warehouses near Hill Ave-Wynstone Dr intersection just north of the Tsa-La-Gi Trail.  Anyone know what's going on there?

 

I think what you are referring to is the Design District for the U of A Fine Arts Dept.  http://news.uark.edu/articles/26166/department-of-art-transforms-complex-into-art-and-design-district

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I hope he tears that building down and builds new. It might have some historical value or be representative of some style but it is very unattractive, imo. It would be good location for one of his unique designs.

My understanding is that he's renovating the building for his office.

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I heard someone talking about the Dickson Theater project, but they were under the impression that it would be a 4-5 story building.  Does anybody know what the height limit is for that lot?  The city council has obfuscated the height-limit with too many different regulations, IMO.  Someone should propose rolling back some of the recent laws.

I keep looking around but I haven't been able to confirm anything about the Dickson Theater property project that we've all heard about. I assume nobody has any new information.  That is one I am excited to hear about.

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I saw where tonight the city Planning Commission was taking up the issue of parking requirements for businesses in the city.  The idea being that they would eliminate minimum parking requirements for non-residential developments which would then spur increased infill and redevelopment.

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