Coveted land 

Coveted land

The 10 mostly wooded and highly coveted acres immediately behind the Arkansas School for the Blind are being looked at once more for development, this time for single-family homes.

Architect David W. Sargent with Witsell Evans Rasco met with Jim Hill, superintendent for the School for the Blind, last week to gauge the school's willingness to sell. The developer, who Sargent declined to identify, is considering creating 18 50-by-150-foot lots and four larger lots on Lee Avenue and Berry Street. Homes on the smaller lots would range from $300,000 to $400,000; the larger houses would go for around $700,000.

“I asked them, ‘Who said the land is for sale?' ” Hill said. The reply was Easter Seals.

Easter Seals, which holds a lease on the property, has been trying since its move to West Little Rock more than a decade ago to sell its old headquarters, located at the east end of Lee Avenue. There has been no interest in buying the building apart from the land, which would require state approval.

Easter Seals once said the building was worth $2.1 million, but has been willing to take a fourth of that in recent years. The last bid came in 2006, when two psychiatrists who have office space in the building offered $700,000, with some $515,000 of that going to Easter Seals.

As it has previous offers, the school's board of trustees turned the psychiatrists down, citing security. The school's dormitory is located on the southern boundary of the 10 acres.

Hill also thinks the land — some of the last developable acreage in a desirable neighborhood — is worth far more than has been offered. Hill said he told Sargent and Scott Smith, an architect and former head of the Hillcrest Residents Association, “I was not going to agree to any sale that gave a majority of the money to Easter Seals.” If the board instructed him to sell, Hill said, he'd go “to every committee in the legislature to make sure we got a fair deal.”

The new development plan would require the old Easter Seals headquarters be torn down, work that Hill estimated could cost as much as $500,000 because the building contains asbestos.

Hill said he was told the developer might be interested in developing only the northern part of the property off Lee to allay the school's security concerns.

Sargent told the Times the developer wanted to meet with neighbors of the property and the Hillcrest Residents Association before going forward with an offer. Previous plans involving multiple-unit housing have met stiff neighborhood resistance.




Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: 'T & A with Guest Dr. Racher, the Ninja Gyno'

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen are joined by Dr. Racher, the ninja Gyno. They talk about all the things that come with transitioning— at any phase of the spectrum and all of those special people in their lives who live through this transition with them.
    • Oct 11, 2018
  • New episode of Rock the Culture podcast: 'Real Recognize Real'

    In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on Issue 2, the voter ID ballot initiative, the rules in the event there is a run-off in Little Rock’s Mayoral Race, and West Central Community Center’s tutoring program.
    • Oct 2, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas podcast: 'T & A Talk Pride with Zack Baker'

    Hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen discuss the importance and the “why” of PRIDE and other LGBTQ+ events with Zack Baker, the Chair Of Central Arkansas Pride. Zack also shares all the cool things happening during this year’s festival.
    • Sep 26, 2018
  • More »

Latest in The Insider

  • All in the family

    Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • 'Circuit breaker' legal

    When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
    • Jan 30, 2013
  • Church goes to school in Conway

    An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.
    • Jan 23, 2013
  • More »

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation