Rachel's Rumors: Cheddar's only the beginning

Last week I was excited about the possibility of a Cheddar’s Casual Cafe coming to East Oak Street where Superior Chevrolet used to be, and now I have learned that could be just the tip of the iceberg.

In February, the Conway Planning Commission is going to look at a request to rezone that property to a planned urban development (PUD). All the information is fairly unofficial, but the proposed PUD already has a name — Conway Oak Village. What are we talking about here? Restaurants and shopping.

The property is rather large — more than six acres — with about two-thirds of it on the west side of Bill Dean Drive and then a narrower plot on the other side of that road. Some preliminary drawings have been submitted, and nothing is approved or set in stone yet, but this is a rumor column and we talk about stuff like that here. So pay attention, because I’m dishing out some good stuff.

If the Conway Oak Village PUD gets approved, what we would have is an attractive addition to East Oak Street — thank goodness. Could it get any uglier than a rotting, old, empty parking lot? With all due respect to its location as prime real estate, of course. The drawing I have been looking at is completely bordered by trees and landscaping. The Cheddar’s (or whatever restaurant) would be at the front (nearest East Oak) of the bigger tract of land. It would be accompanied by three other buildings with retail and restaurant space (one opposite Cheddar’s, two facing Bill Dean Drive on the skinny tract of land) and lots of parking. The total indoor square footage looks like about 270,000.

Much more detail will be forthcoming if the development passes the planning commission. If you like to watch things like this unfold, a public hearing will be 2 p.m. on Jan. 29. I am ever so slightly excited to see what happens here.

Keep in touch. I do answer emails, eventually.

(Rachel Parker Dickerson is a freelance columnist/journalist. Send your questions and comments to rachelpdickerson@gmail.com)

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