Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tech park to buy first property on Friday

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 4:08 PM

The first buildings of the tech park: 415 and 417 Main streets.
  • The first buildings of the tech park: 415 and 417 Main streets.

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. 

The tab: $1.037 million for the Mays Building and, for the Stephens properties, $785,000 for the large parking lot on Main and $10.8 million for the remainder of the properties. These constitute Phase I of the project.

The park is using $9.6 million in tax exempt financing and $3.3 million from city sales taxes to buy the properties. The city has pledged $22 million for the park from sales taxes; it's contributed more than $6 million so far.

The cost of renovation of both 415 and 417 Main for space appropriate to technology companies is estimated $6.3 million. The tech park will first remodel the 28,000-square-foot Annex Building for lease; start of construction has been moved back from March to April, Technology Park Executive Director Brent Birch said. He said the building should be ready for occupancy by December or January 2017. The Mays Building, which will be reconstructed to connect to the Annex Building, has several tenants, and the park authority will allow those tenants to stay until their leases are up or leave before then without a penalty. Birch said the tech park authority has not determined the lease rate for space in the Mays Building. 

5 Main Place is leased to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and that rent will provide revenues for the tech park.

Birch said he's had "very interested potential businesses" contact him about locating in park property, but that lease rates have not yet been worked out.

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