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  • As printed in The Daily Record

Land Sales Span Months

Sometimes I come across something that I think is interesting and it just doesn’t quite fit in the space available that month. For instance, there was a sale on the west side of Little Rock at the end of the year. According to the records at the Pulaski County Assessor’s office, Potlatch Deltic Real Estate sold 15.06 acres on Dec. 18. The selling price was $2,425,000. The math on that is just a little over $161,000 per acre, or about $3.70 per square foot.

One of the reasons this sale piqued my interest was the buyer. It was Responsive Education Solutions (REP) that purchased this tract of land. REP operates open-enrollment charter schools locally, including Quest Academy of West Little Rock at 1815 Rahling Road. Quest’s location there, in a leased building, sitting on 2.04 acres. It seems reasonable to me to wonder what REP will do with 15 acres. My conjecture is having that much land offers room not only for the middle school, it might also offer enough room for a high school. Supporting this conclusion is a preliminary plat that was part of the application to the Little Rock Planning Commission for Chenal Valley Phases 30 & 31 shows the Responsive Education tract with three buildings labeled “GYM,” “K-8” and “HIGH SCHOOL.” The thing about preliminary plats is there are exactly what their name implies, preliminary. We’ll have wait and see what develops.

Let’s have a quick review of that preliminary plat for Phases 30 & 31 of Chenal Valley. The plat is for 187 residential lots on approximately 107 acres. Both these additions are on the east side of LaMarche Drive, just north of Falstone Court and across from The Courts neighborhood. The northeast corner of Phase 31 borders on the Madison Valley Charleston Heights subdivisions. The application has been deferred to the March 12 meeting of the planning commission.

At the corner of Rahling Road and Chenal Valley Drive, an application has been made to the Commission for approval of an O’Reilly Senior Living Facility. The sale and development of this parcel of land would end what has been a nearly 20-year investment in land by the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ATRS). Back in 2001, ATRS purchased nearly 90 acres for construction of a retirement village for Arkansas teachers. The project was later called off and the land offered for sale. Previous sales have resulted in projects with focuses on senior living. Brookdale Senior Living is on 5.5 acres of the land. Hickory Heights Health & Rehab occupies 7.7 acres. Two phases of Villas at Chenal absorbed 18.48 acres and 10.8 acres. Chenal Village Active Adult Community sits on 32.69 acres next door to the proposed O’Reilly project. Also interesting, O’Reilly Development Co., LLC is related to the O’Reilly Auto Parts from Springfield, Mo.. This application was approved by the Commission on Feb. 20 and will proceed to the Little Rock Board of Directors.

The Little Rock Board of Adjustment’s Feb. 24 agenda only had four items. Two were residential in nature and two for sign variances. One application—at Windriver Building at 2300 Cottondale Lane— is for replacement of an existing monument sign with one nearer the street to increase “visibility to motorists looking for the property.” Having been to the building myself several times over the years, I can attest that a little more visibility wouldn’t hurt.

There were also several interesting sales recorded with the Pulaski County Assessor’s Office. One of them is the purchase of two lots on Rebsamen Park Road by the Quapaw Area Council Inc. of the Boy Scouts of America. These lots are parking lots adjacent to the Boy Scouts’ building at 3220 Cantrell Road. The two lots totaled 17,885 square feet and the sale was recorded at $365,320. That’s approximately $20.43 per square foot. It is puzzling to me as to why—after 25 or more years at that location—suddenly now there is a need to purchase those parking lots. When compared to the sale of the former Dixie Café properties across the street almost two years ago, it seems like maybe the Boy Scouts got a deal. The three parcels making up the site of the former restaurant and office totaled approximately 59,859 square feet of land and the sales were recorded at a combined value of $1,775,000. That’s approximately $29.65 per square foot.

The newly built McDonald’s at the corner of Broadway Street and 6th Street in downtown Little Rock was recorded as sold on Jan. 29 for the value of $2,440,000. The 5,120 square foot building sits on 20,976 square feet of land. The seller was shown as Buckhead Investments, LLC & 2012 Fuqua Family Irrevocable Trust with the buyer being McDonald’s Real Estate Company. A Tulsa-based company, the venerable Quik-Trip Corp. bought another corner in Little Rock. This corner is considerably larger, and while Broadway Street in downtown is a visible location, this corner experiences a considerably higher traffic count. ARDOT published a 2018 averaged daily vehicle count of 92,000 for Interstate 30 in front of this location. On Jan. 28 a sale of 15.77 acres was recorded as sold for the value of $8,500,000. The seller was Fletcher Realty, LLC. To save you the math, that works out to be very close to $539,000 per acre, or about $12.37 per square foot.

I’m about out of space but let me toss out a couple other items here. The Commercial Real Estate Council of Metro Little Rock is hosting its namesake Awards on March 19. More information is available on their website. Back in February, “What’s Happening” talked about retail and touched on sales tax collections and turn-back to the cities in Arkansas. In Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s State of The City address on Jan. 30, he introduced a one-cent sales tax initiative. The discussion I hope the residents of Little Rock have is one about balance between raising the sales tax rate and increasing the retail sales on which taxes are collected. If there were more dollars of sales, would the rate need to be increased?

Shoot me an email anytime at I appreciate the feedback, tips and suggestions. Check back again next month.

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