Thursday night at the Conway Downtown Partnership Annual Meeting, the community learned of three new development projects coming to Downtown Conway.

Plans include two mixed-use developments with elements of office, retail and residential space and a restaurant concept for the Earl Rogers building.

CEO and President of Preferred Medical Todd Ross has paired with Crain Automotive Team President Chris Crain to form Ross Crain Investments.

A few months ago, the investment team bought the Earl Rogers building at the corner of Court Street and Oak Street.

Ross said their goal is to put a restaurant concept in the space to overlook the new Rogers Plaza park on the east side.

The two have talked about creating a rooftop space, but the building wasn’t built for a second floor. They plan to conduct a feasibility study to see if a second floor or rooftop option would be possible.

If the rooftop doesn’t pan out, Ross said, he sees turning what used to be a loading dock into an open air patio as the best scenario.

Ross said he wanted to try his hand at owning a restaurant because of the great track record of other downtown restaurants, such as Mike’s Place and Pasta Grill.

"We want to bring something different - not a chain, but a completely different layer," he said. "Maybe even an entertainment destination."

The space that isn’t occupied by the restaurant will be turned into retail components.

Salter Properties announced the rebranding of the Regions Bank building into upscale office space on the top floor of Metro Square.

"The one thing Downtown Conway is lacking in my opinion is Class-A office space," said Brent Salter, vice president of Salter Properties. "There is a great demand for it."

Salter said in the next two to three weeks the community will start to see the outside of the building transform with remolding, horizontal wood elements and accent lighting.

The next step will be remodeling the inside with new carpet and new tiles in an effort to find tenants for the 12,000 square feet of lease space upstairs, Salter said.

The upstairs will also have a cafe and sitting area where people can get a cup of coffee and have a place to relax, he said.

Regions Bank downstairs will continue operations during construction and after the rebranding of the building.

"The marriage of these two things is of upmost importance," Salter said. "I can rebrand, but at the same time not take anything away from what Regions has done."

Covington Companies has put together a master plan for Front Street.

At the end of next year, the company will begin construction on one of several buildings on the north side of Front Street as part of a larger plan of mixed-use developments and residential property the company calls Northfront Development.

The first phase is a mixed-use building with parking in the back.

The bottom floor will consist of mixed-use retail and office space and the top floor will either be loft apartments or loft-style office space.

"This is preliminary. We’re waiting to see how it plays out," said George Covington Sr., president of the company.

The plan will change based on interest, Covington said. "If you build one of these big buildings and the interest isn’t there for the retail or the apartments, then you need to make game plan two and start switching some of it," he said.

Covington said he’d like to see a company occupy the top floor of the building.

The development will have entrances off of Mill Street and Spencer Street. The company has already cleared three houses from the property in preparation for construction.

"What we’d love to have is a downtown bakery or downtown grocery — a place for people to go get fresh bread," Covington said. "We want to bring something we don’t have that people can walk to."

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215.)

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