Chaffee Crossing took a step toward developing new homes Wednesday.
The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority's (FCRA) real estate review committee accepted a $15,000 offer from ERC Holdings, LLC, to purchase 3.2 acres of land on R.A. Young Jr. Drive west of the Officers Club. The land is planned to be used for 2,000 to 2,600 square feet garden/patio homes that will range $300,000 to $400,000, according to the letter of intent.
The committee did not accept another offer after discussing how it would put Fort Smith Public Schools in an awkward position. Rick Mooney Construction had offered to purchase about 21 acres at Wells Lake and Frontier Roads for $315,000 to be used for retirement cottages. The land is a part of property being held for Fort Smith Public Schools. The FCRA would have had to ask the school board to release the land before the FCRA could sell it. The FCRA and the school district are in the fifth year of a 10-year contract in which the FCRA has agreed not to sell the land so that the school district can purchase it.
Committee member Paul Beran said he did not think it would be right to put the proposal to the school board when the school district had not indicated that it wanted to release the land.
"What you're doing is putting the burden on them to say 'yes' or 'no' now when the timetable is really two or three years, but a need is really there that they foresee," member Don Keesee said.
The FCRA will look to find another spot for the cottages, Executive Director Ivy Owen said.
The committee rejected an offer from Gerald and Cindy Crawford to purchase the building at 7406 Ellis St. for $45,000 to be used as a day care.
Beran pointed out the requirements involved in having a day care, noting that the FCRA would have to consider regulations about selling alcohol or allowing sex offenders to work within a certain distance.
"There's no place to park, there's no place to pick up kids ... you would never get approval by the state," Beran said.
Owen said that, in addition to the other concerns, the price was way too low.
The committee rejected a $180,000 offer from Fort Smith Housing Partners II Limited Partnership to purchase 15 acres on Chad Colley Boulevard to develop rental housing that Owen said was, for lack of a better term, "lower-income."
"I think there are lots of other places where I would love to have this out in our development," Keesee said. "I think it's needed. I think it's wanted. I just do not believe that is where we want this project."
Keesee went on to say that putting it there would not be conducive to some of the other housing nearby, such as Stoneshire and the Reserve.
The committee also:
• Rejected a $250,000 offer from Paul R. Walker and James H. Dempsey to purchase eight buildings and 5.8 acres on Wintergreen Avenue for warehouse and office space.
• Rejected a $200,000 offer from Harris & Harris Investments LLC to purchase five acres on Chad Colley Boulevard for mini-storage and RV parking.
• Countered a $90,000 offer from ERC Holdings LLC to purchase four buildings on Collier Street and 2.1 acres for office space and warehouse storage. The counter offer was $130,000.
• Agreed to give the River Valley Community Church more time for construction and the Montessori School of Fort Smith more time to close on land it contracted.
Decisions made by the real estate committee need approval by the full FCRA Board of Directors to be final. The full board will meet 3:30 p.m. today at 7020 Taylor Ave.