Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Park Avenue approved

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 7:46 PM

Also at the Little Rock City Board tonight:

The revised plans for Strode Development's Park Avenue shopping/office/residential project on the site of the old University Mall was approved and praised by groups that had opposed the original site plan.

(Some had been critical a few weeks ago when neighborhood opposition and representatives of the Midtown Redevelopment Committee had thrown up objections to the first development plan and slowed the project. To some, whatever developers want they should get.)

The improved plan is a "triple crown winner" said Craig Berry, a former Planning Commissioner who heads the Midtown District. There's less parking, more of a town center feel, new office elements, better residential uses, more open green space. Too bad they couldn't talk Target into a two-story store. But Target is coming.

Jim Bell, head of the neighboring Briarwood neighborhood group, reminded the board that it wasn't long ago that the decaying University Mall was standing and rotting and the city board was considering putting an all-night nightclub in the mall. That club energized the neighborhood. The rest is history - redevelopment of blight is underway with a plan that just about everybody involves think will be a credit to the center of the city.

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