Aug 14, 2023 - Business

400 apartments set for walkable downtown Springdale

Data: Shiloh Capital, Blue Crane and Groundwork; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Nearly 400 apartments are on the horizon for downtown Springdale, a city that had little new residential investment along Emma Avenue three years ago.

What's happening: At least three groups are building living spaces in Springdale's downtown area — Shiloh Capital, Blue Crane and Groundwork, the recently renamed workforce housing arm of the Northwest Arkansas Council.

Why it matters: Most vibrant downtowns have mixed "live-work-play" elements along with offerings like unique restaurants, art installations or venues that draw people from surrounding areas.

  • While the downtown's workforce and food offerings have grown in fits, the addition of multifamily housing and the $11.7 million revitalization of Luther George Park may be a turning point for the city's historic thoroughfare.
The Little Emma apartment project. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Details: Two apartment projects — Little Emma and 202 Railside — started leasing in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Combined, they offer 80 units, and both are more than 90% occupied.

  • Renovation projects dubbed Trailside Terrace and Townhomes on Park headed by Shiloh Capital and Don Harris (who is also a member of Shiloh) will add more than 30 units by the end of the year.
  • The recently announced, 77-unit Big Emma project by Groundwork, which will permanently earmark 30 apartments for families earning below the median income, is slated for opening late 2024 or early 2025.
  • Blue Crane projects Via Emma and Spring Street Condos also are planned for 2025 and will add 151 residences.
  • A yet-to-be-named project led by Shiloh Capital that will occupy the 3-acre parking lot behind the First Security Bank building is still in the design phase but will likely add 50 units, along with parking and retail.

What they're saying: "Based on the overall demand for rental housing in Northwest Arkansas — based on the relative value that we're bringing with our rents and what is going on with downtown Springdale — we're not concerned at all about filling them up," Ken Hall, partner in Shiloh Capital, told us.

What we're watching: As tipping points tend to go, more housing projects, retail and food are likely in store for downtown Springdale.

  • "For some time now, economic development has been more about quality of place" than greenfields, roads and utilities, Bill Rogers, CEO of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, told Axios.
  • "Pick any corporate entity in Northwest Arkansas and their focus for at least a decade has been quality of place, so for Springdale, it's our time."

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