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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Still working in downtown LR

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

TANGLED: Many financial issues have accrued for Scott Reed, developer of this building, which now houses Porters Jazz Cafe.
  • Brian Chilson
  • STILL HOPEFUL: Financial issues have accumulated for Scott Reed, developer of this building, from which he is trying to evict Porter's Jazz Cafe. But he says they are small contract disputes, particularly weighed against what he's invested so far and still hopes to invest.

Scott Reed, the developer of K Lofts on 315 Main St., is still interested in purchasing buildings along Main Street — the Boyle Building, the M.M. Cohn Building, the Arkansas Building and an annex — for redevelopment as artists spaces and residences, he told the Times Tuesday.

Reed is the subject of an online article today in Arkansas Business that reported that thousands of dollars in liens have been filed against his company for the K Lofts project and residential construction in downtown Little Rock. “We’ve spent a couple million of our own dollars [on renovations downtown] and then I get a front-page story on $70,000 in invoices we’re disputing. It’s shocking to me that that’s the story,” Reed said.

The story also reported that Reed, who was both developer and contractor for the K Lofts project, is seeking to evict Porter’s Jazz Cafe, the sole tenant at 315 Main, for failure to pay rent. Owners of the jazz club did not return calls to the Times.

Reed and family have returned to Portland, where Reed Realty has an office, but Reed said he is still working in Little Rock.

Reed once offered to match a $150,000 Our Town grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts to the city last summer for a proposed “cultural corridor” between Third and Seventh streets along Main. He withdrew that support, he said, because he had a different vision for development. The grant was reduced to $75,000, with the city providing an in-kind match. The University of Arkansas's Community Development Center and architect Marlon Blackwell are drawing up schematics for the "cultural corridor," where the city hopes investors will restore historic buildings to offer space for performing and visual artists and affordable housing for artists.

Tower Investments owns the buildings that Reed says he is interested in buying.

PS — A number of agencies are watching activities closely. For example, the Arkansas Redevelopment Authority has approved $1.8 million in loans to Reed under a federal neighborhood stabilization program. About $309,000 has been disbursed in payments since August 2010. It's a 0 percent, 30-year loan to cover 30 pieces of property. No repayments have been made, but there's a three-year deferment on repayments. ADFA, however, has raised questions about whether the developer has met requirements on keeping taxes current and making adequate progress on redevelopment on the property.

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