Summer … it seems that news slows in the summer. Maybe the deal activity is there, yet there is less conversation because so many people are getting ready to go on vacation, are gone on vacation, or are catching up after vacation. I know that is true for me. The kiddo and I went to the Happiest Place on Earth for a week after Independence Day. In true luckiest-guy-I-know fashion, we ran smack into one of her schoolmates and her family. They got to play together quite a bit. And she made some new friends at the resort. I spent a week catching up and then I had a week to myself. I got to use that touring New England on the back of a Harley Davidson Street Glide. Sweeeet!
These anecdotes aren’t just to share my vacation destinations. There are comparisons to these trips and to what it is that creates a sense of place, and what brings people, and their dollars, to the Little Rock Metro. The Walt Disney World trip was about special activities and the willingness to make a trip to Orlando for those activities. The desired activities differ from person to person. For sure though, with the wide range of activities available in the Little Rock Metro, there are many activities in the area that add to quality of life and make it a more desirable place to live. One striking thing from the New England tour, motorcycling all around the six states for six days, was the near total absence of trash. I spent very little time on four-lane roads. There were two-lane state highways that lead in and out of the hearts of all sorts and sizes of towns. Roadside or curbside garbage didn’t exist. I don’t know if the state and communities have big budgets for picking up trash from roads and streets, OR if, and this is what I’m struggling with, maybe – just maybe – the residents of New England don’t throw trash out the windows of their cars and trucks. Food for thought as you drive around your communities and look at the roadsides and curbs.
Here’s a little follow up on some of the downtown notes from last month. An application was made with the City of Little Rock for the previously mentioned parking lot at 2nd and Louisiana for the construction of the previously noted parking lot. Main Street Mall was mentioned here last month. An 80s party was held there a couple of weeks subsequent. We were out of town (see above) and didn’t go. By all accounts though, it was a big hit. Near the south end of main, there have been announcements about more infill development in the Pettaway Neighborhood. With some residential investment, now an investment in the business district is proposed. Sounds like good news for Pettaway and more good news for downtown Little Rock.
Along with progress on the four or five projects along Main Street, downtown North Little Rock had several announcements last month. One of the bigger ones is an announcement by two local developers to join forces and develop a luxury apartment project along Riverfront Drive. One of the amenities citied in developing the thirty-six million dollar ($36,000,000) project was bicycle accessibility and the Arkansas River Trail. Folks, quality of life is a real factor. Bicycling, as well a host of other “hippie,” or “millennial,” or “alternative” elements are real factors in people choosing where they live, work and play. I don’t care how much money you have, $36,000,000 is more than pocket change.
Moving up the river to Riverdale, TFR Properties (think The Faded Rose) paid $500,000 for 0.68 acres. The legal description on the deed basically works out to be 100’ of land west of Rebsamen Park Road. In other words, the parking lot across the street from The Faded Rose. The Bullard’s Liquor Store building was included. Having toured that building, I personally would ascribe almost all the value to the land. That building might even be considered an impediment. Even if not, the building needed considerable work when I was in it. The Faded Rose had been leasing the property for parking so it is likely that the restaurant was the best buyer for this property regardless of the building condition. I’m interested to know (not interested enough to pick up the phone and call … just curious, really) when KATV will move into the Riverdale building they bought last month, and also when Centennial Bank is going to get a new building built on the former Dixie Café site that they bought last year.
Way further up the River (Really, you can get there by river. Have a look at your map. The one on your phone. I know you don’t have a map on your desk. Duh…), the folks out at The Ranch are proposing a couple of neighborhood retail buildings on either side of Ranch Boulevard at the intersection with Highway 10. With the opening of the Bank OZK headquarters next year and the development of that campus over time it makes sense to me that some ancillary services would be good fits. It seems to me that should be welcome additions to the neighborhoods along either side of Highway 10. There are some restaurants and services at The Ranch. Most things, though, require a drive several minutes east, unless you can get it at the Walmart at the intersection of Highway 10 and Chenal Parkway. Some days it’s several minutes just to get in and out of that parking lot, though.
Up north in
Sherwood there were a couple of sales that were interesting. The Walgreens at the southwest corner of JFK and Kiehl sold for $3,230,000, down slightly from the previous sale in 2014 for $3,383,000. And down the road east a ways at 4101 E. Kiehl Ave. Red Dot Storage paid $2,330,000 for a self-storage facility. The building was formerly a grocery store and was converted to a storage facility about five or six years ago. Pulaski County lists the property as having 230 units with an on-site manager’s office and apartment. That works out to be about $10,130 per unit.
I appreciate all of you that mention to me from time to time that you read this column. I am the luckiest guy I know. One of the ways that is manifested is that I get to write this column.
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.