Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Monday, March 06, 2006

GROWTH - Outward or Upward?

OUTWARD GROWTH is the current norm along the Interstate 540 corridor in Benton and Washington counties, and this worries some city planners and elected officials. They want to see developers build upward, filling in existing city space with denser developments such as multistory apartments.

Dense, upward development leads to more people living per square mile, less cost to the cities to provide water, roads and other services, and less need for outward development of rural land, said Steve Luoni, director of the Community Design Center in the School of Architecture of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

But people have been slow to embrace UPWARD GROWTH according to Fayetteville’s Senior Planner Jeremy Pate, “It’s going to take a while to slow down outward development. People want to live at the end of a cul-de-sac.”

Developers say they are building houses outward from the cities instead of upward with denser apartments and condominiums because that’s what people want and that’s where they can make a profit. They built 36,201 new housing units in the four major cities from 1990 to 2004. About 63 percent of those were single-family dwellings, according to statistics from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.

“Primarily, that’s what the market demands. People don’t want ‘up’ — not around here,” said Gary Brandon, who is building several subdivisions on the western edge of the I-540 corridor, including one of 117 acres between Lowell and Cave Springs and another of 54 acres on the outskirts of Tontitown. “They’re not that keen on condos yet.”

Kathy Deck, associate director of the UA Center for Business and Economic Research, said the growing population will continue to demand homes on the outskirts of town. Condos will not appeal to families until the price of gasoline becomes too high or traffic becomes too congested to commute from outlying communities, she said.

Richard Alexander, a developer of condominiums and mixed-use buildings in central Fayetteville, would agree. He said his market is based on the downtown location of the projects and will appeal to people because they won’t have to drive to go shopping or to the university. “There is that niche looking for a lack of a commute,” said Alexander.

Even though cities are spreading, some officials say the finite supply of land and market forces eventually will make upward growth the norm in Northwest Arkansas. “Our land space is dwindling,” said Rogers Alderman Mark Kruger. “At some point we will run out of space, and up will be the only way to go.”

For more information: http://nwanews.com/adg/News/147079/

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