The aloft Hotel battle | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 3, 2008

The aloft Hotel battle

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 1:34 PM

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

COMMERCE ST. VIEW: Library's Cox Center at left.

At this link, you'll find the full application pending before the Little Rock Planning Commission to support a proposed $20 million, seven-story Aloft Hotel at Clinton and Commerce across from the River Market.

I wrote about this in a column last week. The behind-the-scenes politics continue. It would appear, at this moment, that the arrival of the Stephens financial empire as a major opponent to the project could spell its doom, either at the Planning Commission next week or on an appeal to the City Board.

The Stephens, as I've written, object to new competition to their nearby Capital Hotel. (Like most avowed free market advocates, they prefer a market with a minimum of competition.) Central Arkansas Library Director Bobby Roberts was leading the opposition until Stephens came along. He fears impact on his institution's buildings and also has eyed the land for library use. But he seemed inclined to a design compromise with the Aloft developers until the 800-pound gorillas from Stephens came along.

The city planning staff will recommend approval of the hotel. Some planning commissioners will not be present for the vote, making it harder to round up six votes for the project. The application is worth a look. It illustrates that the hotel doesn't exactly dwarf neighboring buildings (some are taller). But the River Market Design District's height limitation made that the handiest way to oppose the project.

Defenders of the project also will argue that the hotel could build now within the height limitation with a block structure, but have opted for a more neighborhood-sensitive, if taller, L-shaped design.

Will clout win out? Should it? Times publisher Alan Leveritt goes nearly apoplectic at the idea that self-interested politics could stop a huge development in a struggling city. Particularly in the midst of a strained financial market where few new projects are getting the greenlight.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016
  • Civil War over in Fort Smith; lawyer strikes his Rebel mascot battle tent

    KSFM reports that Joey McCutchen, the lawyer who's been trying to restart the Civil War in Fort Smith over the School Board's decision to drop the Rebel mascot and related trappingsfor Southside High School, is dropping his School Board takeover campaign.
    • May 27, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation