Donaghey Building redevelopment takes shape | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Donaghey Building redevelopment takes shape

Posted By on Sat, May 14, 2016 at 7:38 AM

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The agenda for the city Board of Directors meeting includes an item to approve zoning for a proposed redevelopment of the Donaghey Building at 7th and Main into an apartment and mixed-use project.

This isn't the first redevelopment proposal for the building and things can happen between proposal and completion. But it would be a monumental infusion of life into long vacant space in downtown's first skyscraper, built in 1925-26. The zoning proposal itself is routine and on the board's consent agenda. It won unanimous endorsement at the Planning Commission.

The proposal calls for 154 market-rate apartments in the 14-story building. The plan includes storage lockers, bike racks and a dog wash in the basement — all amenities that sound perfectly geared to all the young techies who'll soon be flocking to the Little Rock Tech Park a few blocks north. (Right?) There'll be a fitness center, laundry, 15-seat movie theater, meetings rooms and outdoor patio with lawn.

The Herndon, Va., developers plan 38 studio apartments, 63 one-bedroom units and 53 two-bedroom units (as large as 1,121 square feet). The developers hope for offices and retail on the ground floor.

Parking will be provided in the Metrocentre Improvement District-owned deck across Seventh Street, connected by a skywalk. There's a potential complication because the easement for walking to the deck passes through a corridor of a building leased to the Arkansas Department of Human Services, which has expressed some concerns.

The developer is LRMU LP. It's financed by five investors and is a project of All Funds, an EB-5 investment group. This is a federal program that leads to green card, or permanent U.S. residency, for foreign investors if they make an investment of $500,000 or more in a U.S. commercial enterprise and create or preserve jobs for qualified U.S. workers. This project will produce 90 jobs, the investment group estimates.

The project is expected to cost $21 million and will use historic tax credits, among other government incentives.

Robert Lubin, a lawyer who leads All Funds, is described as having spurred developments in several states, including a Mississippi casino. He has a law firm that specializes in "providing immigration services to high net worth and high-skilled clients. "

ALSO ON THE TUESDAY AGENDA: A public hearing on a  294-unit, high-rise apartment project at 15401 Chenal Parkway. It has won unanimous Planning Commission approval, but nearby owners of single-family residences have objected to the project.

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