Affordable housing project breaks ground in Springdale

Nearly half the units will be reserved for households earning less than the area's median income.
Big Emma rendering (BiLd Architects)

Work has begun on a new attainable-housing development in downtown Springdale.

Crews last week broke ground on “Big Emma,” a 77-unit mixed-income apartment project that will include 30 apartments reserved for families earning below the area’s median annual income of $92,400.

The complex is being built at the southeast corner of Emma Avenue and Park Street, and is supported by a $6.75 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

The project is being handled by Groundwork, the Northwest Arkansas Council’s newly renamed workforce housing center, and is in partnership with Community Development Northwest Arkansas, a regional nonprofit housing developer that will operate the complex. It was designed by BiLD architects and is being constructed by Buffalo Builders.

Big Emma is within walking distance to nearby grocery stores, health clinics, pharmacies, and recreation facilities like Luther George Park, the Razorback Greenway and The Jones Center.

“Today is an important day for Northwest Arkansas,” said Groundwork executive director Duke McLarty at a groundbreaking ceremony. “Big Emma is Groundwork’s first attainable housing investment, and I applaud the City of Springdale for its forward-thinking vision and partnership to make this project a reality.”

McLarty said he hopes Big Emma will serve as a model for future projects to provide more affordable housing options near core city centers.

The project will encompass three buildings each with three stories that will include 57 one-bedroom apartments, and 20 two-bedrooms apartments, a green space picnic area, and two commercial spaces for lease.

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2025.

Big Emma groundbreaking (Groundwork)