Plans submitted for second West Center Street complex

The leasing office for The Cardinal at West Center sits on land where a second student apartment complex is planned along West Center Street in Fayetteville.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

As expected, local developers Specialized Real Estate Group have submitted preliminary designs for the second of two student apartment complexes planned along West Center Street.

City planners earlier this month were shown early designs for Harvey’s Hill, a 432-bedroom complex located across the street from another Specialized project, a 471-bedroom complex called The Cardinal at West Center which is set to open next year.

Just as “The Cardinal” is a nod to the original UA mascot, the name “Harvey’s Hill” pays an homage to Daniel Harvey Hill, a Confederate general in the Civil War who served as president of Arkansas Industrial University from 1877-1884 before the school was renamed the University of Arkansas.

Plans for the two complexes first emerged last fall when nine properties were rezoned south of West Center Street.

Staff graphic

The project is the second phase of a plan unveiled nearly a year ago when the Planning Commission unanimously approved a rezoning request of nine individual properties located just south of the University of Arkansas campus.

Preliminary site plans for Harvey’s Hill show three apartment buildings ranging from three to five stories and a parking garage with room for nearly 400 cars and 100 bicycles along Hill Avenue.

Design for the complex comes from Modus Studio, a Fayetteville firm recently featured in a short film article in Dark Rye magazine.

Modus has worked closely with Specialized on two nearby projects, including The Cardinal at West Center and the LEED Platinum-certfied Eco Modern Flats complex on Hill Avenue.

Specialized expressed early interest in building two other non-student complexes – one on the site formerly home to City Hospital and another at Dickson Street and Block Avenue. The company later backed away from both plans.

Once the new project completes the city staff review stage, it will then be forwarded to the Planning Commission for final approval.

Student housing on the rise

According to a recent report by commercial real estate brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis, overall apartment occupancy in mid-2013 averaged 95.5 percent in Fayetteville.

With apartments full and enrollment at the University of Arkansas skyrocketing to a 54 percent increase, developers are racing to build projects to fill the increasing need for student housing in Fayetteville.

Five rent-by-the-bedroom student complexes – University House (formerly The Domain), Sterling Frisco, The Vue, The Cardinal at West Center and Eco Downtown – have recently opened or are under construction in Fayetteville. The Grove, a 632-bed complex opened last fall.

Once complete, the six new complexes will have added nearly 4,000 bedrooms to a college town whose student enrollment has grown by over 6,000 students in the past five years.