The next step in the process of the redevelopment of Cantrell Field into the mixed-use development Central Landing is securing retail and dining leases.
The Conway Development Corporation and the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce announced the vision for the Conway 2025 master plan at the Business Expo Breakfast three years ago.
“Today brings some of that full circle,” said Brad Lacy, president of the chamber and CDC, at Thursdays announcement of Central Landing.
The announcement of Central Landing is an answer to a desire the public had in Conway 2025, he said.
Will Wilson, CEO and president of Jim Wilson & Associates, said Conway is a great place, a vibrant town and the company sees potential in the city.
“Over the years we’ve built strong relationships with some of the nations best known retailers and we’re excited to continue our relationship at Central Landing,” Wilson said.
JWA’s mixed-use develops typically include anchor tenants such as Belk, Macy’s and Sears and featured tenants such as Banana Republic, J. Crew and American Eagle.
“We’re not ready to announce names at this time, but I expect them to be familiar to you when we do, and you will consider them great additions to the retail opportunity in Conway, Ark.,” Wilson said.
The CDC sees Central Landing as a unique urban environment that will connect downtown Conway to Conway Commons while solidifying Conway as a regional destination for shopping.
“It will change shopping patterns that have not changed up to this point,” Lacy said. “This will, as I like to say, keep us from ever having to go to Little Rock for anything other than commercial air service. We’ll have to do that.”
Mayor Tab Townsell said Central Landing will fill a void in Conway’s retail market concerning price options and the niche shopping market.
“We’ve heard there is a richness lacking in different price levels,” he said.
Central Landing will bring a niche market of retail that has yet to reach Conway, he said. Such stores could include The Limited, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and sporting goods stores.
Along with this niche market, Townsell said, come the restaurants that follow these retail chains.
Lacy said Central Landing will be the largest retail development the city has seen since Conway Commons.
Over a ten year time period, Central Landing will increase retail sales in the city by almost $2 billion which means the city would receive an additional $34 million in sales tax revenue, Lacy said.
“So not only is it good for us to keep our dollars here, but those sales tax dollars fund police, fire, sanitation - all the critical things that we as citizens expect city government to deliver,” he said.
Thursday afternoon JWA sent out a press release announcing Central Landing to 500 to 700 companies in what Wilson calls a blitz.
The company is currently conducting a market study to show retailers the viability of the project over a span of 30 to 50 years.
Wilson said he’s already spoke to several large retailers.
“The response we’re getting thus far has been really well received,” he said.