New housing developments planned near UA campus

The team behind the LEED Platinum-certfied Eco Modern Flats and several other upcoming complexes has plans for at least another development near downtown Fayetteville.

Details about the projects aren’t yet available, but developers cleared the first hurdle Monday night when the Planning Commission unanimously approved a rezoning request of nine individual properties located just south of the University of Arkansas campus.

Seth Mims, a partner with Specialized Real Estate Group, told commissioners if the City Council gives final approval for the rezoning, the plan is to build “another walkable, multifamily, urban community.”

Tentatively named “Eco New,” the developments would replace several rental homes and one small apartment complex near the intersection of West Center Street and Duncan Avenue.

The area is currently zoned RMF-40 (Residential Multi-Family, 40 units per acre). The request is to rezone the property to DG (Downtown General), a move that city staff believes is more consistent with the land use planning objectives for the area. Downtown General is a flexible zoning district with uses ranging from public open spaces to residential development and business. While density is not specifically limited, Downtown General does limit building height to four stories or 56 feet, whichever is less.

Six residents spoke in favor of the rezoning including Mikel Lolley, a local sustainability consultant and former facilitator of the Fayetteville Forward Green Economy Action Group.

Lolley, who lives next door to Eco Modern Flats and across Hill Avenue from the proposed Eco New site, said he’s hoped for three decades that the nearby properties would be rezoned to allow for higher density and more energy efficient developments.

“I couldn’t have hand-picked a developer that I have more faith and confidence in delivering the kind of development that I have envision for that neighborhood for 30 years,” said Lolley.

There was no public opposition Monday night.

Other Specialized Real Estate Group projects include Sterling Frisco, Eco Downtown and Project Cleveland.