Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Since the first homes were built in the Heights and Hillcrest, the neighborhoods have long been favorites of Little Rock's politicians, artists, merchants, designers, architects and couples looking for a safe community to rear their children. We talked to a few local real estate experts to get their take on why these neighborhoods remain so popular.
Pete Hornibrook, CEO, and Robin Miller, Residential Sales Vice President of Coldwell Banker RPM
When Rector Phillips Morse (now Coldwell Banker RPM) closed its downtown operation and opened an office in the Heights, Robin Miller remembers reading a story about the company's move. As she tells it, "A local paper asked, 'What do they know that other people don't know?'"
The Heights was already an established neighborhood in "way out west" Little Rock, says Pete Hornibrook, who was instrumental in the mid-1970s move.
"I thought to myself, this would be a great place to develop and grow our business," he says.
It wasn't long before others were moving in, and, Hornibrook says, "This area was the place to be. ... Even today, it still has that neighborhood feel. It's the kind of place where you know your neighbors."
That community bond extends beyond its residents to its local businesses. Merchants go the extra mile when it comes to fitting into the feel of the neighborhood. "People know the local retailers and can walk to a local restaurant, and that's worth a lot," Hornibrook says.
Carol Jenkins, Adkins, McNeill, Smith & Associates
Realtor Carol Jenkins explains Hillcrest's attraction like this: It's a neighborhood.
"A few days ago while I was showing a couple around, we were going down Kavanaugh Boulevard, and there were lots of people out and about. There were people walking or running, pushing their babies in strollers, and the restaurants were busy. It was great, and the couple loved it," she says.
"We have everything we need, including our own fire department and post office, and now we have a Target opens at the corner of North University and Markham and Kroger on Beechwood has recently been completely redone. It's a wonderful place to live," Carol says.
John Selva, Pulaski Heights Realty
About five years ago Pulaski Heights Realty owner John Selva couldn't bear to see an old house he loved torn down and replaced with condos. Instead, he bought the house and renovated it before moving in.
Selva says several aspects of local community make it a great place to live.
"It's the walk-ability, it's the Heights promenade where people walk their families and their dogs, all concentrated around a commercial core that gives it a small town feel," Selva says.
He also believes the merchants associations are instrumental in keeping people involved through activities like Hillcrest's HarvestFest and First Thursday Shop and Sip, as well as Thursday Happy Hour in the Heights.
"We have good, strong residents' associations that keep the neighborhoods on track." The two associations are the Heights Neighborhood Association of Little Rock and the Hillcrest Residents Association.
Joel Tvedten, River Rock Realty
Realtor and Stifft Station resident Joel Tvedten is more likely to brag on the neighborhood than try to sell the house he's showing.
"This neighborhood is really great and a good investment," Tvedten says. This Old House magazine recently placed Capitol View and Stifft Station in the top 50 neighborhoods in America. For the first-time homebuyer or someone looking for an investment he says, "There are lots of fixer-uppers in this area."
But money-to-be-made isn't the whole story.
This area is the center of the city and is close to several parks that are designed for walking, running, biking or entertaining your dog. The neighborhood is home to artists, musicians and writers. "It has an electric vibe, and if you want grab a beer and something good to eat ... Well, it's just right around the corner."
Janet Jones, The Janet Jones Company
Lifelong Prospect Terrace resident and real estate expert, Janet Jones believes the area is one of Little Rock's more sought-after neighborhoods. In fact, she says a home rarely sits vacant for long.
"The Heights is beloved because it has a real feeling of community. It has a small town feel—with an element of sophistication—and it's a place where people know their neighbors. The homes are a charming mix of bungalows, craftsman, Tudor and cottages. There are sidewalks, beautiful trees and parks, and some of the state's best restaurants and shops."
It's been home to President Bill Clinton and other politicians.
For Jones, there's nowhere else she'd rather call home, as a matter of fact, she still lives in the same Prospect Terrace home she grew up in.
Charlotte John, the Charlotte John Company
"To me, it feels like home," says Charlotte John. After leaving the burbs—where people drive everywhere—more than 10 years ago, she says, "I'm only 300 steps from my home to my office on Kavanaugh."
But it's more than just a short walk to work. "It's the people who live here. I can walk up and down the street, the store owners are my friends, and it's always fun."
Developers around the country would love to bottle the Heights, John says.
"They are trying to create communities with a mix of homes and businesses ... they call it the new urbanism, " she says. "Of course, our area has the charm of being an older neighborhood, with lots of flavor and diversity. It's fantastic!"