Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Robinson Auditorium renovation begins; can a MAPCO be far behind?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 10:31 AM

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Both the mayor and governor were on hand today for a ceremonial closing of Robinson Auditorium, which is to undergo a 26-month, $70 million redo with a bond issue backed by the hamburger tax.

Beebe reportedly talked about the remarkable downtown revitalization.

I wonder if he or the mayor remarked on the fact that — unless the Little Rock City Board comes to its senses tonight— you'll be able to stand on the front steps of this WPA art deco monument and gaze down to a sign welcoming you to the gas pumps, 22-ounce Busch Lights and Slim Jims of a shiny MAPCO 24-hour vagrant magnet.

Remarkable.

Remarkable, too, that Strong Mayor Mark Stodola's sterling appointments to the Planning Commission were the failed first line of defense against this bad idea, which was solidly opposed by the city professional planning staff.

Vote counters tell me the issue is still close, with reportedly at least three solid votes for developer Dickson Flake from Erma Hendrix, Doris Wright and Lance Hines. Why? My guess would be home neighborhood animus toward money spent downtown. How better to pay that back than by dropping a metaphorical you-know-what in the punchbowl. Six votes are needed for passage.

Plenty of details on the work here. The auditorium will be closed while the neighboring Broadway bridge is also closed for replacement. I still like to dream of the defunct grand idea to turn that bridge into a High Line-style plaza connected to the revivified convention center, with a new bridge crossing upstream. Instead, we'll get a half-baked bridge replacement and, perhaps,  convenience store nightmares.

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Speaking of Robinson Auditorium, MAPCO

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    A statewide vote is set Nov. 4 on allowing alcohol sales in all 75 counties. For now, the drys appear to enjoy a money edge. /more/
  • MAPCO proposal at Third and Broadway is dead

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    The city of Little Rock received a letter today from MAPCO, the convenience store chain, that it was withdrawing its controversial application to build a unit at Third and Broadway. /more/
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    A funny thing happened shortly before vote-short developer Dickson Flake got a three-month delay from the Little Rock City Board on considering his widely panned proposal to install a MAPCO filling station and 24-hour convenience store at the dangerous Third and Broadway intersection, just a block and a half from a $70 million Robinson Center Music Hall redo. /more/
  • Jonesboro, too, has the convenience store blues

    July 8, 2014
    Turns out protectors of downtown Little Rock fighting a giant MAPCO convenience store and gas station at Third and Broadway, have soul mates in Jonesboro. Residents of a historic neighborhood are fighting a Kum & Go. /more/
  • A MAPCO update: Predictions still say it won't pass

    July 6, 2014
    A social event last night provided me with some first-hand background from several related parties on the raging City Hall debate on the proposal to install a 24-hour MAPCO gas station and beer outlet within two blocks of the front steps of the Robinson Auditorium, where a $70 million renovation has begun. PREDICTION: The proposal can't pass, but eternal vigilance is required. /more/
  • The Stupid Things Tom Cotton Said Edition

    July 3, 2014
    This week’s special session of the Arkansas General Assembly, the stupid things Tom Cotton said this week, more drama at the Arkansas Supreme Court, more politicking around the proposal to build a Mapco in downtown Little Rock and the deadwood of the former lieutenant governor’s office drifting off to new opportunities — all covered on this week's edition. /more/
  • Stealth campaigning reaches the city board level

    July 2, 2014
    I mentioned recently that robocalling was reported several days ago to stir opposition to Little Rock City Board approval of a MAPCO gas station and convenience store at Third and Broadway, in the midst of a government corridor bracketed by a federal courthouse, City Hall, the County Courthouse and the under-renovation Robinson Auditorium. /more/
  • UPDATE: LR board vote on MAPCO at 3rd and Broadway delayed for three months

    July 1, 2014
    A twist in the planned consideration of a MAPCO is the possibility of a deferral of tonight's vote at the Little Rock City Board meeting. /more/
  • Fighting the convenience store on Broadway

    June 30, 2014
    I got two reports last night of robocalls urging calls to Little Rock City Board members to vote Tuesday night against the proposal for a MAPCO gas station at the dangerous Third and Broadway intersection, near the heart of the city/county government and convention district. /more/
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