Plan approved for Aronson mixed development at former 112 Drive-In site in Fayetteville

A drawing shows the development plan for the Aronson, a mixed-use development at the site of the former 112 Drive-In in Fayetteville. (Courtesy/Fayetteville)
A drawing shows the development plan for the Aronson, a mixed-use development at the site of the former 112 Drive-In in Fayetteville. (Courtesy/Fayetteville)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Planning Commission approved a development plan for the former site of the 112 Drive-In, granting the plan deviations from city code regarding flooding and road connectivity.

Commissioners voted 7-2 Monday to approve the plan for the Aronson, a development proposed to include 214 residential units and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema + Drive-In, in addition to other future commercial spaces. The commission initially reviewed the plan March 13 but held off on a decision after having questions about drainage and potential street connectivity.

Dave Anderson, developer on the project, presented the plan to the commission and showed pictures of the proposed structures. Homes are planned to be a mix of single-family, duplexes and triplexes, with garden-style apartments. A clubhouse also is planned with a pool. The eight-screen, 800-seat indoor cinema will have a beer garden with a view to the drive-in screen. The plan shows 45 stalls in front of the drive-in screen.

Anderson said Alamo Drafthouse will stand alone among other cinemas in the state.

"There's a lot of heart and soul, and we think, a wonderful impact for Fayetteville, in this project," he said.

The 112 Drive-In, southeast of Van Asche Drive and Arkansas 112, closed last summer.

Jason Appel with Engineering Services Inc. said the development team worked with city staff over the past two weeks and sought a variance to city code dealing with base flood elevation. The request was to allow a slightly higher elevation, specifically for the area where Clabber Creek goes under Arkansas 112. The increase would be temporary, Appel said, because the Arkansas Department of Transportation is planning to do work on that section of Arkansas 112 and add a roundabout that would feed into the Aronson development.

Another variance to code was for a potential future road connection from the development to adjacent property to the east.

Assistant City Attorney Blake Pennington said city code encourages new developments to connect to adjacent properties but does not require it. Planning staff said streams run east and south of the property and that street connections would not be feasible.

David Nelms, owner of the forested property to the east, asked the commission to include a connection to his property. He said his father bought the land in consideration with the Fayetteville Auto Park and envisioned a contiguous development in the area. Otherwise, he said, a leg of the new roundabout on Arkansas 112 could essentially function as a private drive into the Aronson.

Commissioner Porter Winston expressed concern over potentially land-locking the property to the east. He, along with Andrew Brink, voted to deny the plan.

Commissioner Mary Madden said the two property owners should continue to try to work out an arrangement for connectivity, but one property owner shouldn't be required to ensure connectivity for another.

"I don't think it would be right or fair to expect this applicant to solve their problem," she said.

Mary McGetrick, Quintin Canada, Sarah Sparkman, Matt Johnson, Jimm Garlock and Joseph Holcomb joined Madden in approving the plan.

In other business, the commission voted 9-0 to approve a permit for a tavern to operate out of a shipping container at 7th Street and Washington Avenue. The site includes Bottle Rocket Subs, Margaret's Culinary, and the building with murals of George Floyd, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and other figures.

Alex Christie, co-owner of Bottle Rocket Subs, said she was working with the owners of Margaret's to bring the tavern to the site.

The 20-foot-long, 8-foot-wide container would provide beverages such as drip coffee, teas, kombucha and fresh juices to customers, according to a letter to the city. Pending approval from the state, the tavern could provide native beers and local natural wines.

Planned hours of operation are 7 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

Commission action

Fayetteville's Planning Commission met Monday and approved:

A development plan for a 12,000-square-foot warehouse at Concrete Solutions west of Gregg Avenue and Township Street.

A variance to code allowing for two driveways at the planned Jiffy Trip convenience store southeast of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Smokehouse Trail.

A permit for a nature retreat serving seniors with no permanent buildings to operate near Centennial Park.

Source: Fayetteville