Downtown disagreement 

Downtown disagreement

The Insider heard last week that leases for commercial space at the southwest corner of Markham and Scott, including a liquor store and gift shop, had not been renewed. Did that mean something was cooking for the parking lot in front of the shops?

CSK Hotels, a Fort Smith developer, recently purchased the parking lot and announced its intention to build a hotel, despite the fact that the city of Little Rock has a long-term option to buy the property for a parking deck.

Block 2, the company that leases the commercial strip, said it  knew nothing about any developments on the parking lot. A spokesman said leases weren't renewed — and all other lease renewals in the Block 2 project have been frozen for eight to 10 weeks —  because of possible building renovations.

The parking lot? It's still in dispute. The city says it still wants parking there to serve the Statehouse Convention Center and Peabody Hotel. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said a new parking deck directly across the street could add as many as 600 spaces, but CSK's hotel plan would require 75 additional spaces and add no new parking. “The developer has done some good work in this town and we welcome them, but their presentation doesn't include any parking,” Stodola said.

The Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission is expected to discuss the issue June 25.


Security alert

Last week, a news article reported that a kid who'd boarded a plane at London's Heathrow Airport was tossed off the plane for wearing a T-shirt that featured a drawing of a ray gun, held in the metallic claw of one of the robots from the new “Transformers” movie.

Something like that couldn't possibly happen in America, right? To find out, we called Sari Koshetz, regional spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration. What if, we asked her, we tried to board a plane at the Little Rock National Airport wearing a shirt featuring a picture of a cartoon robot holding a gun?

“It's certainly not a tasteful choice to wear on a plane,” Koshetz said, “and it might be frightening to children, but that would not be considered a violation.”

Don't take that as a license to show for a flight wearing that new “Death to America!” T-shirt you picked up at the mall, however. Koshetz went on to say that if a passenger comes dressed in a way which TSA officers believe might “frighten or incite fear, panic or violence from others” they can ask the passenger to change his or her clothing before boarding the plane.





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