Downtown doings | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Downtown doings

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 9:49 AM

Speaking of condo conversions:

We understand that the Little Rock Board of Directors today will put on the agenda for its Oct. 17 meeting an ordinance clearing the way for the delayed sale of the Metrocentre Improvement Districts's south parking deck to Charles Hendrix, who owns the Donaghey Building across Seventh Street from the deck. The city would transfer land under the deck to the Improvement District for no cost. The district would then sell it to Hendrix's Lake Hamilton Corporation for $2,050,000, $50,000 above a recent appraisal. The proceeds would go to pay down Improvement District debt and knock maybe seven years off the bond repayment schedule, said Sharon Priest, director of the Downtown Partnership, which manages the improvement district.  She hopes to take tax payments dedicated to the bonds for further beautification and improvement projects downtown.

The sale became a matter of some controversy and was delayed a few months back when City Attorney Tom Carpenter noted that the city had put $500,000 into the project and would get no share of the sale price. The city also had once expected to receive income from the parking deck, but it never lived up to revenue forecasts. It operates at a loss most years.

It appears Priest has the votes to close the deal this go-round. Hendrix, said Priest, is now working in co-operation with developer Stephanie Smith to convert the historic Donaghey skyscraper into condos and and new commercial uses. It's a vital piece of downtown development, she said.

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