Hotel parley 

Hotel parley

Central Arkansas Library Director Bobby Roberts, hotel developer John McKibbon and architects huddled Tuesday to see if a compromise could be reached on the design of the 7-story aloft hotel McKibbon wants to build in the River Market adjacent to library property.

Roberts wants assurances that the hotel won't dwarf the library's Cox Center on Commerce — he'd like to see a stepped-back design — and that building materials would be in keeping with the district's design overlay. He'd also like to see retail on Commerce.

The City Board approved a motion by Director Dean Kumpuris last week to instruct the Planning Department to review the River Market's design overlay. The motion came hot on the heels of the River Market Design Committee's 2-2 decision not to recommend in favor of aloft's request for a variance to build a nearly-90-foot hotel in the district, which restricts buildings to 48 feet. Several at that meeting noted that all new construction in the district had been granted variances and suggested the restrictions were outmoded.

If city planners decide simply to lift the district's height rules, “that would be a problem,” Roberts said, since it would open the door to replacing the older two- and three-story buildings in the district — which lend it its charm — with tall structures. “My concern will not be with this project, but the next,” he said. He said the design overlay as a whole could probably use updating, a process that should involve the public.


Strange bedfellows

Republican Phil Wyrick has been gaining a bit of traction in his race to unseat Democratic County Judge Buddy Villines. How? By supporting a compromise Lake Maumelle watershed management plan developed in a process begun by Central Arkansas Water and approved by environmentalists and neighborhood activists. So says Kathy Wells, a leader of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods who says she's supporting Wyrick. Villines has rejected the watershed management plan in favor of what the Coalition believes is a less-rigorous county ordinance. He cites as his authority technical opinions from engineers working for Deltic Timber, the biggest landowner and developer in the watershed. Wyrick also has picked up a couple of other supporters outside the usual Republican circles, judging by hosts listed on a fund-raiser invitation. They include, in addition to a Huckabee, a Hutchinson, a White, a Rockefeller and other familiar GOP names, former City Director Barbara Graves, who served on the City Board with Wyrick's wife, Director B.J. Wyrick, and state Rep. Pam Adcock, a Democrat.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

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 »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Pharmacy reimbursement fight prompts special session call

    Since Jan. 1, Brandon Cooper, a pharmacist at Soo’s Drug Store in Jonesboro, has turned away a number of patients seeking to fill routine prescriptions. The problem is not that the pharmacy lacks the drugs in question or that the patients don’t have insurance, Cooper said. It’s that the state’s largest insurance carrier, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, recently changed the way it pays for pharmaceuticals.
  • Locked away and forgotten

    In 2017, teenagers committed to rehabilitative treatment at two South Arkansas juvenile lockups did not receive basic hygiene and clothing supplies and lived in wretched conditions.

Most Recent Comments


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