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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tech consultant: not crazy about chosen sites

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

One more post as we close out the evening:

Charles Dilks, the consultant to the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board, has sent the board further evaluation of three locations the board is considering for construction of the park. The letter was in response to a motion made at the board's December meeting, but is a little off the mark in being responsive to what the board wanted from him: An evaluation of the sites from a business perspective.

Instead, Dilks reiterated his earlier comments on the sites — at 701 Collins St. downtown, for which the board is being lobbied heavily by such folks as Charles Morgan (former head of Acxiom) and Richard Howe (executive chairman of Inuvo, an online advertising firm); acreage at University and Asher Avenue south of the UALR campus, and 1911-2225 John Barrow. Bottom line: he doesn't think much of any of them. The 10-acre Collins site is too small (Dilks separately sent board member Dickson Flake a chart indicating the need for larger sites), the University site has questionable access problems and the John Barrow site appears to be shaped like a bowl, with a lake in the middle of the property.

In conclusion, I hope these comments and thoughts will help the board review the final three sites being considered and provide some direction as to scope of work that a planner/engineer could help answer. With these questions answered and issues considered, the selection of the best of the three remaining sites can be made. But I must continue my admonition that the Authority move with caution in selecting any one of them and to make sure there is no other alternative site that could be made available that would be more favorable to the success of the technology park based on the broad number of success factors I have previously emphasized.

Read the full letter here.

Asked if she thought Dilks would also respond to motion made by the board, chair Dr. Mary Good said she anticipates the board will hear more from Dilks.

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