Thursday, December 6, 2012

TGIThursday, our open line

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Here's your open line for the evening and a bit about how I spent the afternoon: Riding to the four potential sites for the Little Rock Technology Park with members of the board that will choose the site. Board consultant Charles Dilks recommended the four without much enthusiasm, since he contributed to a previous study that suggested it be located in the neighborhoods between tech park sponsors UALR and UAMS. Realtors for the sites met with the board at each stop to give their spiel.

None of the board members were particularly verbal about their feelings on the sites, though there was some praise for the Verizon building on the Arkansas River, which has breathtaking views and a suitable "chase" for ventilation for the wet labs that would be on the top floor, board member Dr. Michael Douglas observed. The 212,000-square-foot building is about twice the size the Authority was planning to build, but the lower floors could be leased and eventually expanded into. Member Dickson Flake, who said he now times distances to and from his destinations whenever he gets in a car because of the consultant's recommended 5-minute drive time from park to sponsoring organizations UAMS and UALR, said the drive from the Verizon building to UAMS is 6 and a half minutes. The lease rate on the building is $65 a square foot, but a sale price is negotiable, realtor Hank Kelley said.

Douglas said he was impressed with the John Barrow Road site, 30 wooded acres across from the McMath Library. City Director Doris Wright, who represents Ward 6, acted as tour guide for the group, showing them the neighborhood as well as the site. Flake was impressed with the organization of the supporters of the site, owned by Pam Brown Courtney; large supportive signs abound up and down John Barrow and Courtney has created a website touting why the site would be good for the park and why the park would be good for the neighborhood. The topography, however, could be a problem; the land is below John Barrow and Parkview High School (located on a high spot on the road) and there's a natural pond in the middle. Courtney is having a topographic map drawn up for the Authority, and she wouldn't disclose a price, saying it was negotiable.

Flake also had flood plain concerns about the periphery of the University and Asher site, which would include the shopping center at the southeast corner and acreage south and east of the shopping center. The site is between Rock Creek and Coleman Creek, feeders of Fourche Creek on the south. Board members were largely mum on the fourth site, at 7th and Collins east of Interstate 30, which would please them more if it had Ninth Street frontage. Jimmy Moses, the realtor for the Collins street location, noted that the southern frontage of the site, on 8th Street between College and Collins, is a high point (which is why the historic Woodruff House was built right across the street) and would give the park great visibility from downtown.

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Speaking of Little Rock Technology Park

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    Interest in leasing space in the Little Rock Technology Park under construction in the 400 block of Main Street is a "comfortable amount" for this stage in the project, Authority board chair Kevin Zaffaroni said today at the board's monthly meeting. He declined to say how many floors of the first building to open, at 417 Main St., that comfortable amount might include, since no leases are final. /more/
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    April 21, 2016
    Now that the Stephens properties on Main Street and Fifth have been sold to The Little Rock Technology Park, what is Stephens' share in the Metrocentre Improvement District assets, I wondered as I wrote yesterday's item on the potential sale of  Henry Moore's "Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge." /more/
  • Tech Park chair Mary Good to step down

    February 11, 2016
    Dr. Mary Good, who has been the chair of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board since its formation as a nonprofit in 2011, informed UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson in a letter Jan. 20 that she will step down March 15, it was announced at Wednesday's tech park board meeting. She said she would stay longer, if needed, until her replacement is named. /more/
  • Tech park to buy first property on Friday

    February 3, 2016
    The Little Rock Technology Park plans to close Friday on its first purchases of real estate: 5 Main Place at Fifth and Main streets, the Annex Building at 417 Main, the Mays Building at 415 Main St., the parking lot between the Mays Building and the KATV-Ch. 7 building (referred to as the Center Theater lot, because that is where the theater stood before Stephens interests had it demolished), the parking lot on the west side of Main between Fourth and Fifth, the old Stephens Inc. offices on Fifth Street, and the Keith parking at Scott and Fifth Street. /more/
  • Tech park construction start estimate: March 8

    December 9, 2015
    Chad Young, an architect with Wittenberg Deloney and Davidson, presented the firm's preliminary drawings for the first phase of the Little Rock Tech Park construction: renovation of 42,000 square feet in buildings at 415 and 417 Main St. The presentation included a timeline that should a construction start date of March 8. /more/
  • Tech park agrees to terms of $17.5 million from consortium

    November 16, 2015
    The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board this afternoon signed off, with one nay vote, on the terms of two loans totaling $17.5 million offered by a consortium of Little Rock banks led by Centennial Bank. The authority board also agreed to extend the deadline for Richard Mays to accept its offer of $845,000 for his building at 415 Main St. to noon Friday. The deadline had been noon today. /more/
  • Tech Park: Yes to Mays' appraisal for Main Street property: Clarification

    November 2, 2015
    The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board voted this afternoon to offer Richard Mays $845,000, the sum his appraiser reached for his building at 415 Main St., while concurrently preparing to file a condemnation lawsuit. Mays has until noon Nov. 16 to agree to the offer; otherwise, the board will proceeds with a lawsuit. /more/
  • New appraisal on Main: No need for eminent domain?

    October 28, 2015
    The Little Rock Technology Park Authority has received an updated appraisal of 415 Main St., a two-story, 10,020-square-foot office building owned by lawyer Richard Mays, that puts its value at $670,000. /more/
  • Tech Park steps in it again; talks of condemning land on which it made low-ball offer

    October 15, 2015
    The Tech Park does it again. Tries to lowball a property owner with an offer below the value appraised for taxes after paying a fat amount above tax value for Stephens property downtown. /more/
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