Growth in Northwest Arkansas, Out or Up?

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS— When Joe Hosier moved to the outskirts of Bentonville 45 years ago, he had a quiet place out in the countryside.

"Well, it was all dirt roads, and farm land. We knew all five cars that went up and down the road everyday. Farm land and a big ole fish pond.” Hosier said.
“Now I need a stoplight down there around seven o clock in the morning to get out of my driveway.”

The small town of Bentonville grew to Hosier's backyard.

Northwest Arkansas is growing, it’s one of the fastest growing sections of the country. This Spring the population topped half a million. Joe Hosier’s lost countryside is part of a question local leaders have been working to answer.
What’s the best way for Northwest Arkansas to Grow? Out, with lots of subdivisions and suburban sprawl? Or Up?With tall, Large Scale buildings and Downtown Urban Living.

For Mayor Hines of Rogers, growing ‘Up’ is on the horizon. The 10 Story Hunt tower set to open this fall in Pinnacle Hills. Hines says more will follow.

"That's the tallest building in Northwest Arkansas, or will be, when it opens, it's over 50 percent pre leased, which is a great indicator of the need in the market.” Hines said.

"I don't think that's the last one you'll see in Rogers, and in fact, it might not be the tallest. Here in just a few years.” Hines said.

Hines says Towns Across NWA are looking at downtown districts in a new light.

"Bentonville, Springdale, and Rogers we're focusing a lot of efforts, on our downtown revitalization and build out.”

Hines says a driving force behind downtown renovation is creating an enticing home for the millennial generation.

"There's a great need in the millennial, to live in a walkable, bike-able community, that has all those services, and in order to provide that the number of millennial that we see in the workforce. We're going to have to adapt to their style of living, and I think that will lend itself to more development in the downtown areas.”

Hines says downtown Rogers is ready for more urban development.

"I think Rogers is poised for sort of a blank slate, if you will. We have good bones, in our downtown, we have a five block area of primed real estate for development. I think in the next 24 months you'll see some vast changes in the landscape of the downtown area in Rogers.” Hines said.

Down I-49 In Fayetteville, City Planning Director Andrew Garner says they’ve been working to cut down on the City’s Outward Growth.

"They were really concerned with some of the development patterns they saw, as far as a lot of sprawling neighborhoods continuing to go out and out.” Garner said.

Garner says growing "up" isn't destined for Fayetteville’s downtown.

"We're not a real big city, we really didn't want a lot of skyscrapers, so there's just a few areas where you can go really high, just right off the square we do have some places where you can go up to the seven eight story buildings. The intent was four to five story buildings, in a lot of spaces, opposed to just one or two really big skyscrapers.”

Ultimately, Garner says the city wants to encourage downtown living, without large scare construction.

"The Primary goal of the overall comprehensive plan is to encourage infill, and revitalization in the city. More of the core of the city."

As for Hosier, He says he’s had plenty of offers for his land, but none at the right price.

"Well the man made me an offer, and I told him well he'd bought the house, did he want the land to go with it? He got mad.” Hosier said.

He says he’ll stay put as long as he’s able, and just have to get used to the Urban sprawl.

"I'm still here, and now I got a subdivision all the way around me. Well... I don't like it but it's happening everywhere, so I've got to live with it.”

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