bchris02

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About bchris02

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  1. bchris02

    Will Dillard's Be Taken Over

    I worked for Dillard's back in 2008 and was laid off during the fall of that year. There has long been talks of buyouts or in the case of the 2008 recession, the company folding completely (which came very close to happening). Dillard's is still a family-run operation though and thus far they have refused to sell. As far as the future of the company, I don't see anything but positives that can come from a buyout by Hudson's Bay. Saks and Lord and Taylor are quality department stores. However in terms of the effect on the Little Rock economy it would be a huge blow. Little Rock as a city pulls above its weight and acts like a city much larger than what it is, being more comparable to Oklahoma City and Tulsa than Jackson and Augusta. Part of the reason is all the corporations that are headquartered there and the white collar employment base that comes from them. Even if Hudson's Bay kept some jobs in Little Rock, losing that corporate presence would be a blow.
  2. bchris02

    McCain Mall

    I agree. Little Rock is overdue for a competitor to Dillard's. If not Macy's, maybe Von Maur or a second Belk location. Personally I think Von Maur would be better suited for Promenade at Chenal but it could happen at McCain Mall. Von Maur recently opened at Quail Springs Mall in OKC. Quail Springs Mall is much like McCain mall. It's the city's "second" mall and its not yet dying or struggling but there are definite warning signs. Von Maur coming in should ensure the Mall's survival.
  3. bchris02

    The Promenade At Chenal

    There were a lot of concerns when the Promenade was first built that it would fail due to being so far out on the suburban fringes of the metro area. In hindsight, does that fear look to be realized? Developments like this have been successful in other cities such as Charlotte, but as neighborhood shopping centers rather than a destination. If it wasn't for the few exclusive tenants the Promenade at Chenal has, my guess is it would be in trouble. Not sure how much new residential construction is happening in that area, but for it to be a neighborhood shopping center it will need more population density surrounding it. If it's to be a destination, it needs an anchor.
  4. bchris02

    The Promenade At Chenal

    I would say the issue has mostly corrected itself over the past few years. Little Rock no longer has the dearth of trendy shopping compared to its peers that it once did. The only thing really lacking is a Macy's or Von Maur. I still think the retail scene is in overall worse shape than it would have been had Summit Mall been built but it isn't really that bad. To put it in perspective, OKC doesn't have much that Little Rock doesn't despite being twice the size. There are a few big names like The Container Store, that are in Little Rock but aren't in OKC. Put a department store anchor in the Promenade and Little Rock is no longer behind its peers in any way on the retail front.
  5. bchris02

    The Promenade At Chenal

    The Promenade currently has enough unique, destination stores to keep it relevant i.e. Apple, J. Crew, the metro's only IMAX theater. What it really needs though is a department store anchor such as the Dillard's that was originally planned but cancelled due to the 2008 recession, or something new to the market like Macy's or Von Maur.
  6. bchris02

    New Respect for Little Rock

    I can relate to the OP. I lived in Little Rock for two years after I graduated college and then lived in Charlotte for three years. I am now in OKC. Charlotte is a true big league city and I loved everything about it, but that's another thread. It's OKC that has made me really appreciate Little Rock. Despite being twice the size of Little Rock, OKC don't offer much more to do other than the NBA. There is a lot Little Rock has that OKC doesn't thanks to its natural surroundings. Little Rock also has a noticeably more liberal vibe compared to OKC which is extremely right wing in almost every pocket of the city. Population definitely isn't everything and I think Little Rock definitely pulls above its weight comparative to its size. When I lived in Little Rock I was in my early twenties and wanted out of Arkansas and didn't appreciate everything the city had to offer. First of all it's a very beautiful city. The natural beauty and the integration of development with the natural terrain has to be one of the best strengths in Little Rock. Hillcrest is a real jewel. Most people in Little Rock don't realize how nice Hillcrest really is. It's interesting and remarkable to see the kind of urban development people in OKC are getting excited about also occurring in Little Rock. Little Rock is even ahead of OKC when it comes to getting high-rise residential condos. So far no developer here has dared try. Little Rock's airport, while on the small side, is actually quite large for a city its size (compare it to Augusta, GA for instance.) In retrospect, and it may just be because of the lens of nostalgia, but I think Little Rock has among the best bang for your buck if you want to live in a small city.
  7. bchris02

    Park Avenue

    So Shackleford Crossing is still empty after all these years? What a waste. I don't live in Little Rock anymore but I do check back here on the developments from time to time. I do think Little Rock retail, which not long ago was very poor for a city its size, has really come into its own over the past five years (Shackleford Crossings not withstanding).
  8. Glad to see this project finally coming online. It seems like shopping in Little Rock has drastically improved over the last few years with Park Avenue, Promenade at Chenal finally coming into its own, and now this.
  9. bchris02

    Little Rock Population Estimates

    You really can't predict future population by looking at past growth trends. Circumstances change which can cause a metro area to either boom, stagnate, or even decline. I doubt anybody in the 1960s could have foreseen the collapse of Detroit. I doubt anybody in the 1980s could have foreseen Austin's transformation from sleepy college town to media and hipster darling. Nobody really knows what the future holds for any of America's major metro areas. That said, I think the future looks good for Central Arkansas. NW Arkansas is too reliant on Wal-Mart so its difficult to say. Wal-Mart isn't growing near as fast as it was ten years ago during the peak of NWA's boom, so I am a bit skeptical that they will reach 1 million without another major growth driver coming to the area.
  10. bchris02

    Park Avenue

    Let's demolish TCBY/Metropolitan National Bank tower and put in a KFC/Taco Bell 2-in-1 in its place. That's progress!
  11. bchris02

    Park Avenue

    I don't live in Little Rock anymore but check back here occasionally to see what is going on. I would agree from what I've seen of Park Avenue that it is a horribly wasted opportunity. What was originally proposed compared to what was built is pretty much night and day. One thing I will say is what happened with Park Avenue is pretty typical for developments announced prior to the recession but not off the ground until afterwards. It isn't necessarily a Little Rock thing. I lived in Charlotte for three years, which luckily had most of its major retail developments off the ground before the crash so they turned out pretty well. Now I live in Oklahoma City which is in very much the same situation as Little Rock is in. Numerous developments were announced in the 2007-2008 timeframe which are just now finishing up and most of them are very scaled down from the original proposal, so much that it would have been best if they would have abandoned the projects entirely. An example is there was a mixed-use lifestyle center proposed for North OKC with an upscale department store as its anchor (rumored to be Saks or Von Maur), but it now looks like its going to be a strip mall anchored by a grocery store connected to a standard suburban apartment complex. Apparently there is a long list of new-to-market retailers wanting to enter the OKC market but there is yet to be a quality development due to the timing. Had the recession come a year or two later, markets such a Little Rock and OKC would have fared much better as far as quality retail and mixed-use developments.
  12. bchris02

    Perception of Charlotte Nationwide

    Agreed. Most people where I am from confuse Charlotte with Charleston, SC for some reason. I got bombarded with texts and calls during Hurricane Irene asking if I was okay when in fact we didn't even get a drop of rainfall in Charlotte. Charlotte, while truly is a great place to live and work, is but a pass-through city for most people so it really isn't on their radar. Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, etc are all destination cities.
  13. bchris02

    Perception of Charlotte Nationwide

    Most people outside the Southeast don't know what state Charlotte is in. People back home all the time ask me how I am doing in "South Carolina".
  14. bchris02

    Charlotte Pride

    Did Roxy C. Moorecox really say Charlotte was a big pineapple? I didn't attend pride but I heard that was said.
  15. bchris02

    Northlake Mall

    Thats good to hear. Apple is a HUGE step in the right direction for this mall. Now, if they can just lure H&M into the old Border's space it can definitely become Charlotte's "2nd" mall.