A planned student housing complex could replace the quonset huts and four other buildings along Center Street at the Razorback Greenway crossing near downtown Fayetteville.
Members of the city’s Planning Commission on Monday voted 7-2 to recommend vacating a public right of way in an alley along Gregg Avenue that’s needed to build the complex.
The site’s boundaries would stretch from Center Street north to Meadow Street, and from the Razorback Greenway west to the railroad tracks. It would require removing the two Trailside Village quonset hut buildings where AM/PM bar, Yarb Apothecary, Gar Hole Records and several other businesses are located. It would also remove four buildings to the west of the quonset huts where Trailside Yoga, a B Unlimited retail space and others are located.
Trailside Yoga this week announced plans to relocate to a nearby building, and B Unlimited last year bought a 17.5-acre parcel of city-owned land off City Lake Road for its new headquarters.
Todd Wendell with Trinitas Ventures, gave a brief presentation to the commission and showed several renderings of the proposed complex, which would include 191 units ranging from studio apartments to 4-bedroom spaces. A total of 572 beds are planned across the sloped, 2-acre property. The plans show six stories on the east side and seven stories on the west side.
Wendell said as Fayetteville’s population and the University of Arkansas’ enrollment continue to grow, a multi-family project is one way to reduce pressure on other housing developments across the city.
“Given this project’s location relative to campus and relative to Dickson Street, we think that it is the ideal location for housing,” Wendell said.
Wendell’s presentation showed a parking garage inside the complex and other amenities like bike and scooter storage areas, lounge rooms, a 24/7 study and co-working space, a fitness center, and a rooftop swimming pool. Wendell said the architects plan to incorporate murals into the final design in an effort to compliment the feel of the downtown area.
Removing the Gregg Avenue alley which connects Center Street to West Avenue via Meadow Street would also be required to build the project as first planned.
Wendell said a recent traffic study from Kimley-Horn and Associates shows that the alley does not currently alleviate any congestion on West Avenue, and that it’s underutilized with only 12 vehicles during peak morning hours and 25 vehicles at its afternoon peak. Wendell said West Avenue is currently only at 51% of its maximum capacity at peak evening hours.
“Adding that additional 25 cars really doesn’t move the needle in terms of traffic on West Avenue,” Wendell told the commission.
After some debate, the commission voted to require the developers to shift the alley right of way to the northwest side of the complex so that a connection between Center and West could remain.
Commissioners Andrew Brink, Fred Gulley, Joseph Holcomb, Mary Madden, Mary McGetrick, Sarah Sparkman and Porter Winston voted to recommend the vacation so the project can move forward. Commissioners Jimm Garlock and Brad Payne voted against.
The proposal will now head to the City Council for final approval.