The City of Conway City Council passed all agenda items during last night’s city council meeting including an ordinance to rezone property for the Baptist Health medical facility.
The property rezoned for Baptist is on the west side of Exchange Avenue, immediately south of United Drive. The exact address is 1555 Exchange Ave., south of the Caldwell Toyota dealership.
The property was zoned as C-4 or Large Shopping Center Commercial District, but was voted to be rezoned O-1 or General Office District in a 8-0 vote by City Council last night.
The hospital is needing to switch that zoning for “set back” reasons and landscaping, Bryan Patrick, director of planning and development explained.
“The vision of C-4 was a shopping mall with lots of exterior landscaping areas, so in order to fit the hospital on the property best, and still meet development review standards the 0-1 standard seemed to work best,” he said.
Councilwoman Mary Smith asked Patrick if he knew where the hospital stands and what Baptist’s plans are? He said he didn’t know, but there were Baptist representatives in the room of they wanted to speak to those questions.
A man approached the podium without identifying himself and said “We are currently in the process of our site plan review. I just picked up the plans from sanitation this evening.
Councilman Andy Hawkins asked the man if he would please identify himself.
The man said he was Alex Bennet with Avere Real Estate.
According to Bennett’s Linkedin profile, he is senior vice president of Avere Real Estate, responsible for the the development and acquisition of healthcare related facilities including hospitals, surgery centers, medical office buildings and senior living facilities.
“Engineering is the final stop for planning review,” Bennett said, “Then we will follow that up with our building permit.”
Bennett said Baptist is aiming to begin the 18-month construction process this summer.
A landscape design standard was adopted by the Conway City Council in an 8-0 vote.
Barry Williams, landscape architect with Crafton Tull, said the tree varieties and color would vary throughout the city, but the layout would remain consistent.
The price per design would depend on the masonry materials used to construct the landscape walls.
Roundabouts without hardscape walls would be the least expensive at $24,000, mid-grade materials would cost $35,000 and the most ornate masonry would cost $55,000 per roundabout.
The new design standard prices will be included in future bids for roundabout construction.
City Council also unanimously approved the lowest bid for the first part of the Western Loop street project the city is financing in preparation for Central Landing, the mixed-use shopping and retail redevelopment of Cantrell Field.
From a total of three bids, Thomco, Inc. submitted the lowest bid of $2,203,679.
Thomco bid a unit price of $0.01 per cubic yard for rock excavation which implies they did not anticipate any rock excavation. However, after city engineer Ronnie Hall’s estimate includes 9,185 cubic yards of rock excavation, an additional cost of approximately $121,000 in unclassified
excavation will most likely be added to the cost of the project.
After the additional costs, the Thomco bid is still lower than the other two companies. Mobley Contractors, Inc. and Lentz Construction Company, Inc. both made bids of about $2.8 million.