A brief look at the rest of the Walton Arts Center expansion proposals

Yesterday, we got a peek at the City of Fayetteville’s official site submission proposal for the expansion of the Walton Arts Center. Late last night, we got our first look at the competition.

Twenty-five site proposals were submitted in total. Eight of them were located in Fayetteville, seven in Bentonville, six in Rogers, three in Springdale, and one proposed site was in Lowell.

As expected, all four of the large municipalities in Northwest Arkansas submitted sites for consideration for the Walton Arts Center expansion, including The Springdale Area Chamber of Commerce (in partnership with the City of Springdale), the Rogers/Lowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Fayetteville’s proposal that we saw on Monday.

The City of Fayetteville partnered with the University of Arkansas, and proposed expansion at the Walton Arts Center’s current location in the Downtown Fayetteville entertainment district. The plan includes adding over seven acres to the current facility, two six-story parking decks, some construction funding for a 600-800 seat theater, and the University even threw in access to Bud Walton Arena and Razorback Stadium for WAC concerts.

Rogers-Lowell didn’t actually submit a specific site, but endorsed any of the privately submitted sites within their city limits. “There are numerous sites available that meet or exceed the criteria to include onsite parking and proximity to major dining, meeting and family entertainment venues new and proposed,” read their proposal.

The Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce appears to be proposing a specific site, “within a 1/2 mile of the Bentonville Downtown Square,” but there are no further details about a specific location made available in the proposal.

The City of Springdale submitted five different sites within a single proposal, ranging in size from a six-acre parcel off of Don Tyson Parkway, to a 1,000-acre site near Arvest Ballpark.

NWACC Site Proposal

Northwest Arkansas Community College put in a very detailed proposal (more than 40 pages), including 10 acres on their 131-acre site in Bentonville.

20 private individuals, developers, and real estate folks around the area made up the rest, including a 15 to 60-acre site submitted by Alan Cole and owned by Tom Garrison that, according to the proposal, “easily adjoins Crystal Bridges and Downtown Bentonville.”

Realistically, we’ve got six months or more to analyze the contents of these proposals, and if you’re really interested, all twenty-five submissions are available at the Walton Arts Center’s website.

Our first impression is that none of the submissions are as detailed and compelling as the one submitted by the City of Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas on Monday.

Which one stands out to you?

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