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  • As printed in the Daily Record

Apartments, Storage And ARDOT

The Little Rock REALTORS® Association is hosting the Little Rock Mayoral candidates at the LRRA general meeting on August 16. That is next week. Get more information or tickets at the LRRA office or call them at (501) 225-1987. On September 18 there will be a Commercial Real Estate Industry Issues Lunch hosted by Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Little Rock and other industry groups. It is a sit-down lunch and starts a little early. The doors will open at 11 a.m. The candidates for the 2nd District Congressional District and the candidates for Little Rock Mayor will be answering questions about commercial real estate in Little Rock and Central Arkansas. You can find more information and purchase tickets, or an entire table, at Whatever your concerns, worries, hopes or interests are relating to the future of homes and businesses in Little Rock, the next Mayor will have a hand in addressing them, or not. The people of Little Rock must choose. Come listen to these candidates and make an informed choice.

On July 24 a deed was recorded for the $7,115,000 sale of River Park Apartments to SCBP Riverdale Associates. SCBP Riverdale is an entity belonging to Springer Capital of Philadelphia, Penn. River Park consists of 108 units originally constructed in 1983. The transaction works out to be right at $65,880 per unit. There have been about a half-dozen apartment properties that have sold this year for over $5,000,000. In May GALR LLC out of Houston, Texas, paid Velvet Ridge Limited Partnership $6,400,000 for Summertree Apartments (120 were originally built in 1981) and Valley View Apartments (112 constructed in 1978) just north of McCain Boulevard in North Little Rock. The two complexes totaled 232 units built in 1981 and 1978 respectively. That’s a little over $27,585 per unit. Early in the year 225 units making up The Grove at Pleasant Valley (really it is at Pleasant Ridge, not in Pleasant Valley) sold for $19,000,000, or right around $84,400 per unit. The Grove was built around 1996. February saw Beacon Hill Little Rock, LLC out of Dallas, Texas, pay $9,200,000 for the namesake complex on Reservoir Road. Also this year, Burkhalter-Vestal, LLD sold Lexington Park Apartment Homes just off Maumelle Boulevard in North Little Rock to Lexington Park Apartments, LLC out of Tulsa, Okla., for $24,820,000. How much per unit? Oh, just a little over $86,000 each. The Wellington at Chenal (1998), formerly known as Chenal Park Apartments, traded in June for $17,800,000. That’s almost ten million dollars more than the $7,950,000 it sold for in 2014. That, in my opinion, is remarkable. The latest sale puts the per unit value at over $101,000 per unit. Folks, that’s some secret sauce right there. The whole neighborhood benefits from changes like this. I had the opportunity to listen to Little Rock Ward 5 City Director Lance Hines talk about how the before-and-after differences at this property reduced the number of calls to the Little Rock Police Department. That is another sort of change that benefits a whole neighborhood, too. Ask him about it sometime.

CDRN Sherwood purchased a pair of contiguous lots just off of the corner of Wildwood Avenue and Country Club Road in Sherwood. This intersection is right in front of CHI St. Vincent North and the first traffic signal west of U.S. Highway 67/167. Telcoe Federal Credit Union sold a 2.27-acre lot to CDRN for $850,000 and Stuart and Anne McGilvray sold a 1.49-acre lot for $710,000. Another CDRN entity, CDRN NLR, owns the Holiday Inn Express on East McCain Boulevard in North Little Rock. I’ll take three-to-one odds that a motel is in the future for this location.

The AA Storage @ Fair Park—the one with orange doors visible on Interstate 630 across the freeway from War Memorial Park—sold last month. First Neck LR 10th St. LLC paid AA Storage @ Fair Park Limited Partnership $9,550,000 for the property. The Pulaski County Assessor’s office lists the number of units, of varying sizes, at 517. Is that a good buy? I don’t know. If any reader has thoughts on that, or on if the self-storage boom is going strong or losing steam, shoot me a note. That type of product seems like an interesting indicator, especially as to how demographics may affect it with aging baby boomers and a surging millennial population that seems to be accumulating less “stuff.”

Last month I attended a Public Meeting hosted by the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT). They held it at Christ the King Catholic Church on Rodney Parham Road. The purpose was to show the latest, maybe last, iteration of the plans to reconstruct the Highway 10 (Cantrell Rd.) intersection with Rodney Parham Road and Interstate 430. If you’ve been in a coma for 20 years or so, the traffic congestion along there is a truly awful. There’s many reasons, dating back decades, that the congestion is awful. Most of the reasons are ripples of a variety of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) protests and decisions that kicked this can down the road. I will refrain from my usual diatribe about lack of street connectivity in Little Rock. Some of the other SNAFUs include the decision to yield to objections from Pleasant Valley and not allow retail development at the southwest corner of Highway 10 and I-430 (two highways, mind you) and instead develop it as an office park. (As an aside, that office park is only half-completed. There’s room, and approvals, for about twice what is already built.) What the opposition to the shopping center did, is push the shopping center a half-mile down the road, into the middle of the block, with inferior access – causing greater congestion. Another questionable decision was the alignment of streets in front of and alongside that shopping center. Where there could have been one intersection and one traffic signal, there ended up being two. Adding to congestion was the unique decision by the residents of Walton Heights to insist that the City of Little Rock prohibit a planned second entrance/exit to the neighborhood and ensure that it be one of the longest dead-end streets in the nation. The neighborhood chose not to consider the effects that having only one entrance/exit might have down the road and demanded that the planned connection to Cantrell Road, near Kroger, be removed from the Master Street Plan. So, the entire neighborhood is forced to go in and out at one traffic signal in front of Pleasant Ridge Town Center. I’ve heard stories of residents sitting through red-light-after-red-light-after-red-light-after-red-light to get out of the neighborhood because the line of vehicles is so long. ARDOT’s proposed plan addresses that and aims to alleviate that problem along with others that create much of the congestion. You’d think that would be good news, right? Most people think so. But some screaming NIMBYs don’t see it that way. They’d rather punish the whole county with continuing the history of yielding to self-interests of a few than go forward with a solution for the many. There’s a group, small presumably, circulating an “alternative” to the ARDOT plan that dozens of engineers have spent countless hours developing with years of public input. But hey, there’s always “that person” that is smarter than the rest. Here’s hoping that this time, the plan is approved for the many, not for the few.

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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