Just outside the city limits of Hot Springs is a new housing development that rivals anything one might see or visit in cities such as Nashville, Tenn., or Perdido Key, Fla. A series of 15 townhouses known as “tall-skinnies” are rising out of the ground as part of Urban Edge Estates on Lake Hamilton on Thornton Ferry Road. These three-story homes are ultra-modern and unlike almost any other condominium or lake estate available in Arkansas today.


Brad Medlock encountered tall-skinnies while visiting Nashville where his daughter, a social media manager, worked with some country music singers.


“We would travel to Nashville to visit our daughter, and we started staying in these tall, skinny townhomes,” Medlock said. “I was fascinated by the rooftop deck with all kinds of seating and a putting green. The economy of space in the home without sacrificing all the modern amenities families are looking for today impressed me. I knew this would be a perfect addition to Hot Springs.”

Luxurious amenities and meticulous craftsmanship are the hallmarks. of a home built by Medlock Construction.

The concept might have been new, but the quality craftsmanship and attention to detail that is going into the homes is well-known to those who had experienced Medlock Construction’s work in the past. Clients are immediately drawn to the eye-catching design and luxury finishes, but there’s equal attention paid to the structural elements that make a Medlock Home a sound investment that stands the test of time.


“I travel all over the United States and try to bring the latest technology and design back here to Arkansas,” Medlock said. “All my subs have been with me for 25 years plus, and as a company, we are a well-oiled machine. There’s quality in our design, both in what you can see and in a lot of extras that people don’t see as far as using zip board, taping all the seams, using deck shield on the decking for radiant barrier. It’s what has built our reputation over the past 30 years, and it goes into every house we build today.”

Medlock Homes offer attention to detail and stunning design throughout indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Another element that is a throwback to an earlier age of homebuilding is how Medlock is known for keeping his hand directly on more steps of the process than many builders. What he does not handle personally is built to his exacting standards or it is not built at all.


“When you’re talking about what separates my homes from other stuff, I run my own trim crew, I run my own tile,” he said. “Everybody who comes on my job, they know that I know what a good job looks like, and they know what I expect. I’ve been there and done it in my career, and I don’t settle for anything less than what I would do. I’m not asking anybody to do anything I haven’t done myself.”


Part of what years in the residential construction business has given Medlock is an uncanny nose for location, something he put to good use when planning the Urban Edge Estates.With all the modern amenities installed in each unit, these townhomes can serve as entertainment centers for families year-round, regardless of the season or weather in Arkansas. A linear fireplace offers a contemporary design and, like a traditional fireplace, serves as the focal point of the space. Linear fireplaces are convenient because they can be started with a remote control, thermostat adjustment or wall switch, eliminating messy wood logs, gas starters and ash removal. In linear fireplaces, the flames are turned on and off instantly, making them ideal for zone heating.


Soundbars are also a much-sought-after advancement as the most effective way to get better audio quality from a television, Medlock said. Another advantage of soundbars is how simple they are to install. With no speakers or wires to manage, they deliver a theater surround sound experience without the installation headaches.


The first phase of the development will be ready for viewing and purchase by the first of next year and the remainder completed by summer 2024. Medlock said the lakefront homes will have two-car carports, and the lakeview homes will have two-car garages. All homes will have a front porch and rooftop deck, full-size and state-of-the-art appliances, soundproofing and energy-efficient construction.


Urban Edge Estates in Hot Springs

Each home also includes 12-foot ceilings with a cloud ceiling on the main floor. Cloud ceilings, a system installed on the same plane that has horizontal openings to the structure above on all sides, are becoming increasingly popular in residential and commercial construction. The cloud ceilings at Urban Edge Estates consist of panels separated by gaps, which sit beneath the structural ceiling of the ground-floor entertainment room.


These ceilings come complete with RGB LED lights, which provide efficient and effective lighting in kitchens while creating a cozy atmosphere. Other placements for RGB LED lights include under cabinets and along toe kicks, under shelves and beds, along stairs, and above closets. These lights can be left on all night because they are made to run constantly for a long time without overheating or causing any safety risks.


“The entertainment room is for everyone,” Medlock said. “Kids can go upstairs, where there will be built-in bunkbeds and their own bathroom. The bunkbeds will come with built-in stairs for the top bunk so it will be easy for an adult to get in and out of if they choose.


“The rooftop deck will have a glass wall on the front of it so you can see the lake, mountain and skyline while relaxing, and the walls on either side of the deck will maintain privacy from your neighbors. We will be installing iron fencing and a gate for security as well as a privacy fence from the road and the neighbors next to Urban Edge Estates.”


Other amenities offered by Urban Edge Estates include a property owners association, bulk boat slips, grass front yards and easy access to everything that makes Hot Springs the state’s entertainment hub.


“These townhomes are just minutes from Bathhouse Row, Oaklawn and the casino, go-karts and putt-putt golf, and directly across the street is a direct road to Lake Ouachita,” Medlock said. “There’s a grocery store within a block, and there are all kinds of restaurants and shopping close by. There is always something going on in Hot Springs, no matter what time of the year.”


While there are a few tall-skinny townhomes in downtown Little Rock and a few being built in midtown Hot Springs, Urban Edge Estates is the only development of tall-skinny townhomes in Garland County.


Medlock’s introduction to residential construction was through his father, who would build a home during the summer and enlist his teenage son to help him.


“Dad worked in sewer utilities, building wastewater treatment plants in Jacksonville and North Little Rock,” Medlock said. “When I was in junior high and high school, he would make me field and grate the foundation, do dirt work with a tiller, get into a drain and pick out rocks. I was always active, and it was his way of keeping me out of trouble.


“It also taught me how to look at a piece of ground and see where it was level and where it would fall. I got to where I could see where I would need to run a tiller down through for a drain to make it fall from point A to point B. At the time, I didn’t like what I was doing because it was hot and manual labor, and I was a kid who wanted to be out doing anything else, but it set me up for my career.”


Medlock did not choose construction initially; in fact, he has a pre-med degree and planned to become a doctor. However, he says he is not an “inside person,” and he started his own businesses to work for himself.


“Dad didn’t really start out building homes until he retired,” Medlock said. “I had been in home building for about 12 years when Dad decided to help, and now my son, Hunter, is picking up where I’m leaving off.”

A lot of entrepreneurs who can boast of 30 years of success begin to look for opportunities to slow down, but that is apparently not the case for Medlock. At the same time Urban Edge Estates is coming out of the ground in Hot Springs, he’s also working on a new development off North Lake Drive in Sherwood comprised of 27 lots, 11 of which are on the lake.


“I’ve just been building in the area for the last 25 years and I can tell you that we’re definitely running out of lots here in this area,” he said. “We’re going to sell lots to builders and we’re also building a few pre-sold ourselves. We’re very excited about the potential for this development.”


Medlock said throughout his career, building homes has always been a challenging profession, and that’s definitely the case since the pandemic. Besides escalating cost to build and higher interest rates, the supply chain has not completely smoothed out yet, which prolongs lead times.


“It depends; some materials are harder to get and some aren’t [since COVID],” he said. “Windows used to be a two-week lead time and it’s three months on a lot of stuff now, even today. That means the companies that are successful are the ones who are able to plan and manage things. As I like to say, perfect planning prevents poor performance.”


Of course, Medlock could just be content to rest on his laurels and enjoy the spoils of a three-decade career, but given the choice of sitting on the veranda or building one, he said he still chooses the latter, especially with creative projects such as he has now.

Urban Edge Estates under construction in Hot Springs

“I’m one of the few people who’s doing the skinny houses in Arkansas, period, and the only one in Hot Springs on water,” he said. “That’s the exciting part about Urban Edge Estates, which I think will be a huge deal from the short-term rental aspect. The Sherwood development is a totally different concept. I just thought it would be a nice opportunity to take advantage and do both.”


Besides, Medlock said, he has always derived great satisfaction from producing a superior product using his own two hands.


“I haven’t slowed down much, although I’ve tried to,” he said. “The thing is, I get bored really easily. If I have 30 days of nothing to do, I’m out finding something else to do. I like starting stuff, new ideas and the challenges that brings. I still get out and do dirt work. In fact, I did all the dirt work for Urban Edge Estates. When you do it on your own and you get the right equipment to work with, it’s way more rewarding. I feel fortunate that my work is more of a hobby now. I’ll always have projects, and I’ve already got a couple other projects I’m wanting to do as soon as I can get freed up enough to do this.”


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