The Crafton Tull engineering firm has submitted its review of the three sites being considered for the Little Rock Technology Park — east of Interstate 30 near the Clinton Library; on the west side of John Barrow Road and at Asher and University.
The report, with site maps, estimates structure acquisition and demolition costs and notes potential development impediments — truck traffic near the Sixth and Collins site downtown; some flood zone property on the Asher site; site limitations that will require taller buildings on the Barrow site, for example. The report mentions environmental concerns downtown and at Asher and University, but said they'd have to be addressed by others.
The Tech Park board is to meet Wednesday. Consultant Charles Dilks, who's been consistently negative about the three finalists, will comment on the engineers' findings. No vote is officially scheduled, but participants think a vote may be near.
Tom Butler, vice chancellor for administration and governmental affairs at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a park sponsor, is replacing Dr. Michael Douglas, retiring director of UAMS Bioventures, on the tech park board.
Dr. Mary Good, chairman of the board, said the board would not hear from entrepreneurs in biotech research at the meeting, which was requested at the last meeting of the board. She said that would happen at a later date, though it was suggested last month it should be an important factor in site selection. She said "people have forgotten" that the park's "clients" are UAMS and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Arkansas Children's Hospital, a not-so-oblique reference to a recent push from business interests that the downtown site would be the most attractive to tech start-ups looking to locate here.
UPDATE: Now we have a Feb. 6 letter from Charles Dilks, the consultant hired and guided from the inception of this project by Dickson Flake, a developer who favors using the neighborhood south of UAMS. As he says — speaks for itself:
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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/
The University of Texas opened classes in Austin this week with a bit of student protest. The "Cocks Not Glocks" campaign encourages students to carry dildos and sex toys to mock the beginning of a new state law that allows concealed weapons on campus.
The lawsuit this week challenging Sherwood's hot check court — a $2 million annual moneymaker for the city of Sherwood thanks to a "Les Miserables"-style scheme of perpetual dunning of people who bounce small checks — is part of a national trend. It was also no secret, but local lawyers have been reluctant to challenge it.
The announcement that Bill Clinton will distance himself and foreign and corporate contributors from the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton is elected president has, if anything, increased attention to the intersection of money and politics at the Foundation, along with the ongoing email controversy.
Little Rock School Board member Jim Ross has sent me a copy of the letter sent by six of the seven members of the board to the state Board of Education Committee deciding what to do about the district, which has six schools judged in academic distress.
On residency requirements for LRPD officers and why many of his officers choose to live outside the city, community policing, mass incarceration, juvenile justice, assault rifles and gun control and more.
The leadership of the Arkansas Arts Center announced at its annual meeting and luncheon today that it has just completed its sixth year in the black, continuing its recovery from a budget black hole created by an expensive blockbuster exhibition, "World of the Pharaohs."
By a vote of 20-3, Metroplan's Regional Planning Advisory Committee today voted against lifting the Central Arkansas transit plan's limit of six through-lanes on interstates to accommodate the state highway department's plan to widen Interstate 30.