The Conway Development Corporation announced the details of a mixed-use redevelopment of the airport site at Cantrell Field Thursday morning at the Conway Chamber Business Expo Breakfast.
The 151 acre site will be the home of Central Landing, a mix of retail, dining, lodging, office components, residential space and corporate entities.
The development project will include up to 760,000 square feet of retail space consisting of a mix of large retail stores, specialty shops and restaurants.
The site will also include two hotels, multifamily units and over 200,000 square feet of office space. The proposal states there will also be sites for potential single-family homes, corporate and institutional uses.
The CDC has partnered with Jim Wilson & Associates, LLC, a privately owned real estate company that specializes in shopping centers, residential real estate investments, offices, condominiums, hotels and mixed-use developments.
Will Wilson, president of JWA, said the transition from an airport to a mixed-use development will be a challenge, but something his company can accomplish.
“We have our work cut out for us,” he said. “This is an old air field, but we’re going to create a place that people can be proud of.”
Aug. 13, City Council voted to accept the proposal for purchase and redevelopment of Cantrell Field by the CDC and JWA.
Tuesday night, City Council approved a resolution that supported the CDC and JWA entering into a contract as a private/public partnership by the name of Cantrell Field Joint Venture, LLC.
The resolution consisted of three parts: a finalized purchase price, a timeline for decommissioning the “old” airport and an agreement from the city to build two roads and an overpass that will connect Central Landing to Conway Commons.
Wilson said the roadways will require a lot of work for the development to be viable.
“There are a lot of road improvements the city wants to see,” he said. “Today, getting in there isn’t very easy.”
Brad Lacy said in a letter to Mayor Tab Townsell, a $700 million mixed-use community in Franklin, Tenn.’s Cool Springs was one of the models the CDC studied when considering plans for the Cantrell Field redevelopment.
“Franklin may be the best example of how quality interstate development can lead to significant job creation, as the city has become a driving force in the growth of metropolitan Nashville,” he said.
Wilson said his company was drawn to Conway because it’s a growing city with three colleges and forward thinking leaders.
“The colleges bring young, vibrant shoppers that we like, and the town has a lot going for it with great leaders who are thinking toward economic growth,” he said.
The 151 acre property was purchased for $6.1 million with $305,000 in earnest money to be paid at different phases throughout the closing process.
The closing on the purchase is contingent on several conditions including airport activity and road conditions.
With the runway still active, construction will not begin until the new airport is available and the Cantrell Field location has been decommissioned. The next phase in the development proposal is the signing of the planning contract, which Wes Craiglow, deputy director of development, said should be signed in the next week.
Wilson said he expects the first phase of construction to begin in the fall of 2017. A project like Central Landing will require at least five phases, he said. The first phase will consist of retail, multifamily units and offices.
In a study from JWA, 450 construction jobs will be created during the first phase of development. An estimated $90 million will be spent on construction of the retail component alone.
The initial opening will total approximately 400,000 square feet with additional stores added each year. A total of about 620 employees could be hired within the first year, the study said. Upon completion, the retail component is expected to provide 1,500 jobs.
JWA is anticipating $16.6 million in gross retail sales generating nearly $300,000 in city sales tax during the first two months of business.
Wilson said Central Landing will give the city a new face from the interstate drawing people into Conway as a shopping and dining destination.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)