Bentonville commission approves Momentary plans

Posted: November 8, 2017 at 1:07 a.m.

Courtesy Wheeler Kearns Architects Renderings for the Momentary.

BENTONVILLE -- Much of the former Kraft Foods plant will remain the same when it is transformed into a modern art venue, according to an official with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

A diagram of the building at 507 S.E. E St. shows highlighted sections in pink where glass will be added to the exterior of the building.

Commission action

Bentonville Planning Commission met Tuesday and approved:

• A lot split at Featherston Road, Glen Road and Been Road.

• A property line adjustment at 204 N.W. Seventh St.

• The final plat for McClain Place addition on McClain Road.

• A development extension for a parking lot at 209 N. Walton Blvd.

• Rezoning 404 S.W. Regional Airport Blvd from single family residential to general commercial.

• Rezoning 701 E. Central Ave. from single family residential to downtown low density residential.

• A permit for Fellowship Bible Church at Tiger Boulevard and McCollum Road.

• Development plans for The Neighborhood Church at 2702 S.W. I St.

Source: Staff report

Those sections will be the main changes to the building's exterior, said Scott Eccleston, director of operations at Crystal Bridges and a planning commissioner. Some of the glass will be fritted -- or finely porous -- with designs etched into them.

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Crystal Bridges announced its plans to transform the 63,000-square-foot building into a space for contemporary visual and performing arts in March 2016. It announced its name -- the Momentary -- and its director -- Lieven Bertels -- in August.

The Planning Commission approved 6-0 the plans for the space Tuesday. Eccleston recused himself from the discussion and vote.

The venue is in the city's Market District in the southeast area of downtown and about 1 1/2 miles from Crystal Bridges.

Officials say it will showcase visual and performing arts as well as house an art-in-residency program. The Walton Family Foundation is supporting the project.

Eccleston gave a presentation on the project's renderings during the commission's technical review meeting Oct. 31 as there wasn't another representative for the project present.

There will be a working area at the top of the building's 76-foot tower. The space will turn into a bar and event center in the evenings, he said.

Eccleston spoke more about the surrounding land than the interior of the building.

The parking lot will be uncommon in that it will drain rain water into a bioswale, and the water will be used for irrigation, he said.

It will have 82 parking spaces. The idea is to make it pedestrian friendly so people can walk or bike to the venue, city officials said. There will be times where people can use parking at a nearby office building when larger events are being held at the Momentary.

The main access will be on Southeast E Street where street improvements also will be done, according to meeting documents.

There also will be a spur off of the Razorback Greenway connecting it to the Momentary, Eccleston said.

About 3.5 acres east of the building will be used for concerts and other events. It can hold from 4,000 to 6,000 people, according to Eccleston. There also will be a meadow to the north where a sculpture will be installed.

Site work is expected to start early next year with an anticipated opening in early 2020.

The project comes on the heels of the 8th Street Market opening in the former Tyson Foods plant at 801 S.E. Eighth St. in January.

Repurposing old property brings them back to contributing to the community and surrounding neighborhoods, said Shelli Kerr, interim community and economic development director.

"Renovations respect the past by retaining the community's economic and industrial history," she said. "These projects highlight Bentonville's creativity by working with existing conditions to create a community asset."

NW News on 11/08/2017