From factory expansions to a proposed movie studio, 2021 has been a year of major growth for Fort Chaffee.
In September, the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority had seen over $5 million in property sales for the year, said Daniel Mann, executive director and CEO of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority, at a board of directors meeting
“We are having a record year as far as property sales at Chaffee Crossing,” Mann said.
The redevelopment authority is also looking at about $300 million in projected capital investment into Chaffee Crossing during 2021, Mann said at the meeting.
Here are just a few of the developments that took place in 2021 and what to look forward to with them in 2022.
2021 has been a good year for the manufacturing sector in Fort Smith, with numerous companies announcing expansions.
In January, Mars Petcare kicked things off with the announcement of a $120 million expansion that should add 120 new jobs to the area. The company announced another $117 million expansion in September that should add 142 more jobs.
The 200,000-square-foot expansion that was started in January is scheduled for completion in 2022. The Fort Smith plant is located on 48-acres in Chaffee Crossing.
The Barracks at Chaffee
One of the biggest things to happen at Fort Chaffee this year was the news that the once bustling barracks that were retired in 1987 will soon be lively again.
Lloyd Sumpter, of Rival CRE, intends to take the 25 buildings that were a part of Fort Chaffee when it was an active military base and turn them into a space for living and businesses.
“We’re pretty much bringing it back to life,” Sumpter said in September.
Sumpter said he plans to first renovate 13 of the barracks within the next 18 months, turning them into The Barracks at Chaffee.
Eventually, the space could have as many as 90 apartments and 28 spaces for restaurants or retail businesses.
Fort Smith Coffee Co.
A Fort Smith staple is set to head to Fort Chaffee in 2022 as well. Fort Smith Coffee Co. will open its third location in one of the Fort Chaffee barracks.
Owner Kaity Gould said in October she hopes to have the store open in about a year. The new location will have a full menu, offering breakfast, brunch and lunch seven days a week.
Gould was still developing a menu in October but said that it will draw from family recipes.
The new location will also have some of the classics, “definitely done with Coffee Co. flair,” Gould said.
Five new subdivisions
A housing project including five new neighborhoods in Chaffee Crossing was announced in mid-October.
ERC Holdings, the company building the subdivisions, expects them to have a more than $100 million impact on the community, according to a press release.
“I’ve lived here my whole life and I think Fort Smith has turned a corner, okay? I think we are seeing new and exciting things happen here,” said Rod Coleman, the chairman of ERC Holdings in October.
The projects include Alianna at the Hub, Regency Place, Abbington Creek, the Meadows at Chaffee and Providence addition.
The Village at Heritage
On Dec. 13, the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education officially broke ground on a 78,131 square-foot, $22.5 million building at the Village at Heritage in Fort Smith.
The third building, deemed Building C, will serve as a mixed-use combination of restaurants, retail and student housing and should be completed in 2023.
The first floor of the building will hold commercial businesses, with floors two and three serving as student housing.
The Village at Heritage is located across from the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Some of the businesses set for Building C include a second location of My Uniform Corner, a new gift shop concept from Jamie Coleman and Creative Kitchen, Simply Couture Boutique, a boba tea/Vietnamese restaurant and another restaurant featuring steaks and fresh seafood.
A new adventure
Topping off a great year, it was announced in December that Los Angeles-based film company, TGE Global Entertainment, Inc., plans to build a $30 million film studio in Chaffee Crossing.
The 92,000-square-foot facility will include 45,000-square-feet of film and television studio space. MAHG Architecture is designing the space, which will be called TGE Spark Studios.
The company purchased approximately 19 acres and four buildings from the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority.
The studio is set to include six sound stages, a screening room, editing suites, office space, cafeteria and an amphitheater.
Abbi Ross is the business and features reporter at the Southwest Times Record. She can be reached at aross@swtimes or on Twitter at @__AbbiRoss