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  • As printed in The Daily Record

New Construction, Little Investment

Apartment activity continues. Colony West apartments, aptly located behind the Colony West shopping center and adjacent to the Colony West subdivision, sold for $6,300,000. With 126 units at this property, the per unit price ciphers out at $50,000 per unit. Of note, to me anyway, is that this property lays along Interstate 430. Traffic noise must surely be a reality for residents. Over in Hillcrest, The Spanish Court apartments at 808 N. Palm Street sold for $720,000. Spanish Court has diez apartmentos. So the per unit price is $72,000 (~1,328,948 Pesos). Much like the Colony West apartments, Spanish Court is within walking distance of a Kroger grocery store. The walking in Hillcrest seems much more convenient with greater ease of reaching a larger variety of merchants on foot.

On the subject of Kroger grocery stores, The Kroger Company is making more investments in central Arkansas. A new store, replacement of an existing one, has been announced in Cabot. And word is that there is the possibility of a new Kroger in Conway. By the way, if anyone wants to share the latest schedule for the Central Landing project in Conway I’d be glad to update folks. It seems as if it is increasingly behind schedule, perhaps to the point that there isn’t really a real schedule.

Let’s note a few interesting transactions. In The Heights, at 5701 Kavanaugh, a building partially occupied by Allied Bank sold for $1,300,000. The building is 7,340 square feet and occupies most of the lot. The sale reflects a value of $177 per square foot of building area. The Dunkin’ Donuts at the corner of Shackleford and Kanis also sold for $1,300,000. (Price per square foot is not always the best gauge of properties like this and other single tenant net lease (STNL) properties.) Another interesting sale is the Millennium Bowl in North Little Rock which sold for $2,300,000.

I was talking last week with a fellow who was opining on his difficulty in getting contractors to consider a job in the tens of thousands of dollars. He observed that contractors are busy right now and have many opportunities for work. Some of the larger jobs that pulled permits in the last month include a project in the Little Rock Port area at LM Glasfiber. W.G. Yates Construction Co. (no relation to this writer) started a job at 8000 Frazier Pike of over $3,800,000. The old Remington College building brought work of over $1,300,000 to MAPP construction. Alessi Keyes has commenced an expansion costing at least $1,800,000 at the Roosevelt Thompson Library at 38 Rahling Circle. If memory serves (and I’m wrong at least once a day) Deltic Timber a/k/a Chenal Properties donated the land to Central Arkansas Library System. (If that’s not correct, tell me. I’m not looking this one up.) Two other libraries getting some well-deserved renovations are the Dee Brown branch on Baseline Road and the Fletcher branch on North Buchanan. Kids are our future leaders and libraries are resources for them, and then the rest of us.

And at long last, at least for those that have been waiting and waiting, construction has commenced on the expansion of Crystal Hill Center. This inline center is located across from the Walmart Supercenter in North Little Rock on Maumelle Boulevard. Hart Cone Construction has the task of building this expansion. They’ve bought a permit for just over $1,000,000 of construction.

This column has noted the amount of new commercial real estate investment and construction in communities surrounding Little Rock and North Little Rock. Bass Pro Shops, Outlets of Little Rock and the surrounding Gateway Town Center balanced much of the disparity. One might ask why Little Rock and North Little Rock haven’t seen more new investment in real estate. On that note, let’s take a moment to address the Costco rumors drifting about town. Others have reported that Costco expressed interest in the northwest corner of Arkansas Highway 10 and U.S. Interstate 430. It has been further reported that there was little support from the city for zoning the property commercial. The latest hot rumor is that Costco will take the location that Sears currently occupies at S. University and Interstate 630. Much of the rationale for such thought is that there is already a “big box” retailer there and the site is already a commercial use. Think again. A few years back the Midtown Design Overlay District (“Midtown DOD”) was implemented in the midtown area of Little Rock. All redevelopment within the district boundaries must comply with the rules outlined in the Midtown DOD. This requires the property become a Planned Commercial Development (a “PCD”). To do that applications must be made to and reviewed by: i.) the Planning and Development Department, ii.) the Midtown Redevelopment Advisory Board No. 1, iii.) the Planning Commission, iv.) the Board of Directors and (if necessary) v.) the City Beautiful Commission. The Sears building cannot be built today under the Midtown DOD. Neither can Costco be built under the current regulations. So, for Costco to build on the site, each and every one of the aforementioned entities must disregard, or grant exception to, the Midtown DOD. Consult your favorite odds maker for wagering guidelines.

The 1st person to email me (that way there’s a time stamp) with the correct answer to the three-part question below wins a $50 gift card redeemable at Little Rock’s own Fuller & Sons Hardware (est. 1921). Shop local when you can. Amazon Prime may be cool, however if you shop on-line and you don’t self-remit your sales taxes then you are shorting yourself on city services.

Trivia question (3 parts): What two (2) metropolitan areas are home to the Costco stores nearest to Little Rock? How many Costco stores are located in the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area? The bonus question, not required to win, is – where do YOU think is the best location for Costco in the Little Rock metropolitan area [counties of Pulaski, Saline, Faulkner and Lonoke]? Be realistic please, Senator Hester’s idea of selling War Memorial Stadium won’t qualify.

Tips and suggestions, well most of them anyway, are appreciated. Hope you found something interesting in the column this month. Check back again next month for the things that didn’t get included here this time and that pop up between now and then.

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