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The beat returns to the hearts of the river cities: downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock 

A look at what's new and soon to come.

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The revitalization of downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock is coming so fast and furious that the Arkansas Times, which used to visit the subject for a cover story every several years or so, is now dedicating its prime real estate to it on an annual basis. Last year, the Times traveled the river cities' Main Streets, and the big news was the East Village and developments in the South Main neighborhood. This year, North Little Rock will get a bigger share of press, thanks to a $4 million plaza development that has spurred a sum expected to be around 10 times that amount as new office buildings rise around the plaza.

Shore development continues to grow as developers realize the opportunity that the Arkansas River presents, with the Rock City Yacht Club coming to the south side joining the already developed Rockwater Marina on the north. So much new is coming to the East Village, the old industrial area east of Interstate 30, that it's hard to get the projects straight. By next year, that neighborhood — already home to two breweries — will be alive with new entertainment of the comestible and liquid variety.

In 2006, Rett Tucker of Moses Tucker Partners — the merged business of Moses Tucker and Newmark Grubb — likened the work of bringing business back to downtown as "grinding out the first few downs" with the Clinton Presidential Center as the development game's "50-yard pass."

Who could have envisioned what that goal brought to pass? Billions of dollars have been spent downtown to add new office space, apartments, hotels, cultural institutions — even a bowling alley.

Here's an update on what came to pass from last year's plans and what we expect to see in the near future.

What's new and coming soon to downtown North Little Rock
The Argenta Plaza, new apartments and more.

What's new and coming soon to Main Street Little Rock
More restaurants, apartments and a church.

What's new and coming soon to the Financial Quarter in Little Rock
A boutique hotel, poke and more.

What's new and coming soon East of Main Street in Little Rock
Bowling, beer and poke.

What's new and coming soon to South Main Street in Little Rock
A distillery, a Latin street-food restaurant, apartments and more.
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