The Conway Historic District Commission met Monday night to discuss design standards for the proposed CVS Pharmacy and MedExpress developments planned for Oak Street.

The area along both sides of Oak Street, from Harkrider east to Ingram, was brought into the Old Conway Overlay District in 2009 in anticipation of redevelopment.

The redevelopment model is meant to be an extension of Conway’s traditional downtown, Bryan Patrick director of planning and development said.

New construction should be modeled after traditional downtown buildings set appropriately on the street with pedestrian friendly streetscapes, he said, and parking lots in the rear.

Design plans for the proposed 13,600-SF CVS Pharmacy and 4,800-SF MedExpress have been created to meet these standards with sidewalk lining buildings, a balanced window to masonry ratio and hidden parking lots paired with streetscapes.

Conway Historic District Commission Chairman Steve Hurd said he thinks the design standards are an "intended step," to bring buildings to the street.

"Getting the sea of parking off the street is fantastic," he said. "That’s what should have been done from the beginning."

With the nature of Harkrider and Oak, Hurd said, he personally thinks it may be too big of a venture to make the streets a continuation of downtown.

The commission removed the recommendation requiring CVS to put an entrance at both the southwest corner of Oak and Harkrider and the northwest corner along Harkrider.

The commission decided there isn’t enough pedestrian traffic along Harkrider at this time to justify a second entrance, but the pharmacy could make that corner an entrance in the future, Hurd said, if need be.

The recommendation to build a low brick wall or hedge as a barrier between the parking lot and Harkrider was added for site plan review, Hurd said.

Patrick said the next phase would be submitting site plans for development review.

If approved, the Cricket Wireless stand and Hurley Chiropractic building will both be demolished to make way for the development.

The proposed medical office MedExpress at 813 Oak Street will occupy half an acre at the corner of Oak and Factory Streets.

According to the design review, "the structure currently housing Layla’s restaurant will be demolished to make way for the new structure and parking."

Patrick said he has been speaking with Mark and Julie Ferguson, owners of The Village Center, and they are talking about the possibility of moving Layla’s to a building they own off of Polk Street.

To meet design standards, MedExpress increased the height of the building and added windows to the Oak Street facade, Patrick said.

Patrick said the plans for MedExpress and CVS are a good start to a more pedestrian friendly streetscape down Oak and Harkrider.

"It’s setting a new trend we want to see continue," he said.

Other agenda items:

Shaver Mutlifamily Residences at 1422 Robins Street were held in committee to rework housing plans to de-emphasize duplex garages facing Conway Boulevard. The commission was concerned the garages took away from the historical integrity of the street, Patrick said.

Sowell Single Family Residence at 330 Conway Boulevard approved.

Craiglow Residence Addition at 1321 Davis Street approved.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at