Johnson Square is an 80-acre walkable mixed-use neighborhood. The city of Johnson has a population of roughly 3,000 people but lacks the civic square that the other 4 of the 5 largest towns in the rapidly growing northwest Arkansas region enjoy. Johnson Square will change that. Its design for a town square at the intersection of Main Street and Johnson Mill Boulevard will give Johnson a new heart . The site has beautiful ravines, huge trees, a pond–and several large utility easements. The founders, Morgan Hooker and Ward Davis, recognize this site as an opportunity to enable a beautiful hillside near the historic center of town to become a vibrant town center and neighborhood community.
A design charrette led by Michael Watkins Architect LLC was held in March 2015, with prominent architects Eric Brown, Michael Mesko, and Michael Romero participating. Immediately following the charrette, MWA produced the rezoning application for the site in the form of a PUD, which the city of Johnson approved unanimously the following summer. MWA not only serves as Town Architect reviewing the architecture that gets built, but also in several other design capacities, working with landscape architects, engineers, and the founders to further detail the public realm.
The first building on the main square is open. A few others will soon be. Construction infrastructure for the first phase of nearly 60 lots is well under way.
Location: Johnson, Ark. [map]
Client: High Street Real Estate & Development
Type: Urban Design: Towns, Villages, & Neighborhoods
Program: 400 DU, 150,000 SF Commercial
Transect Zones: T3, T4, T5
- Arkansas Online, "City in Arkansas building 'instant downtown'", 6/11/17.
- Fox 24 NW Arkansas, "Developers, Mayor Hope New Downtown Square Boosts Johnson in NWA", 6/21/17.