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  • As seen in the Daily Record

Ripples From Sears Property Sale

The ultimate use of the Sears property is still being decided. The Sears Auto Center is still open and operating even though the department store is closed and empty. And, even though the department store building is closed and empty, that lease is not over until sometime next year. So it may be a while before there is any physical redevelopment activity. In the meantime, the new owners have been busy talking with all sorts of prospects, from anchor tenants, to restaurants, to small shops.

A ripple from the changes at Sears property is a proposed development on Fair Park Boulevard at Interstate 630. A four-story office building is being proposed for construction there. As proposed, this building would essentially be a replacement for the Plaza building located just west of the Sears building. This proposed development is on the Little Rock Planning Commission’s agenda for November 3. So by the time this is printed, the Commission will have made a recommendation. The Department of Planning & Development staff is recommending that the Planning Commission vote to recommend approval of the proposed project.

Other news known and not covered last month is the then-pending sale of Two Financial Centre. We’d heard two or three months ago that this property was selling. However, if I tell someone that I’ll keep something to myself, I keep it to myself. The announced selling price was $11,300,000. The advertised leasable area of the building is 117,514 square feet. So that puts the sale at approximately $96 per square foot. Recently advertised lease rates for the building were $18.50 per square foot. Based on personal observation and reports from people who know more than I know, the purchase may precede some substantial rehabilitation expenses.

The Colony West Shopping Center shopping center sold about eight weeks ago and is seeing some work to the common areas. Colony West shopping center is the Kroger-anchored property at the northeast corner of Rodney Parham Road and Interstate 430. It is advertised as having a total floor area of 86,740 square feet. Yes, it is that big. The building where Chain Wheel is located is 2-story with additional lease area facing Breckinridge Dr. The project reportedly sold for $7,100,000. That’s almost $82 per square foot. That seems a like a good value to me, even if some rehab is needed. Retail shop space facing into the Kroger parking lot is being offered at $16.50 per square foot. Kroger made a sizeable investment in that location just a few years ago. There’s some grocery competition nearby, not a large amount though. And this is a natural location for at least some of the shoppers that would have been shopping the Kroger that closed on Shackleford Road. A little bit of TLC might go a long way on this property.

There’s news and speculation both on properties along Colonel Glenn Rd., east of Interstate 430. The news is that a nearly five-acre tract sold for nearly $2,000,000. That’s a little over $9 per square foot. The tract sold with two existing abandoned houses on it and almost entirely tree-covered. It will take a little work to get the site ready for the building that is planned for the location. I’m told that there will be some excess land available after the site is prepped. I don’t know exactly how much. We’re led to believe it will be about two acres on the hard corner of Colonel Glenn Road and Talley Road. There is speculation that the Clear Channel building across the street, which was originally built as a Sam’s Club, may be close to seeing a new owner and maybe some changes. So, if you are looking for some outlots that don’t have the restrictions that the Colonel Glenn Centre lots have, keep an eye on both of these properties.

People traveling on Kanis Road are still waiting on a firm timeline for the widening and improvements to Kanis between Shackleford Road and Bowman Road. And there’s still been no known sale of the land approved for Lowe’s. Thing is, even when the road improvements are made all the way to Kanis and Bowman, that area will still be all backed up every morning and every night. Public policy and city ordinances provide for improvements to follow development instead of meeting demand. So long as infrastructure improvements are piecemeal, the city’s Master Street Plan will remain behind the increased traffic. The incomplete street network forces more traffic onto fewer streets than necessary. The resulting congestion creates delays, adding time to commutes, and further discourages people from living in Little Rock. Maybe it ought to be just as quick to drive to Midtown Little Rock from Chenal as it is from Bryant.

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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