LIT uPP

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About LIT uPP

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    Whistle-Stop

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    Little Rock
  1. That half block is owned by Walter Hussman, owner of WEHCO Media and the Arknsas Democrat-Gazette. The ADG offices are on the block immediately to the southwest of this lot. There seems to be some excited anticipation about his future plans after he buys the alley, but this may just be wishful thinking.
  2. LIT uPP

    Little Rock Population Estimates

    I tend to agree with the idea of countywide consolidation. That would boost our population to a more attention-grabbing level for site selection companies, and it would hopefully streamline services and finances. However, we also need to consider steps to make the Little Rock metro a much more attractive business environment for companies looking to relocate or expand. Several years ago, Fidelity Information Services considered moving its corporate headquarters to Little Rock from California, given its existing employee base here. Ultimately, they chose Jacksonville, Florida, in large part because it has no state income tax. This is just one example that comes to mind, but it illustrates the need to be more attractive to out-of-state business. Of course, we should also focus on improving the environment for local start-ups to encourage entrepreneurial ventures. I believe we simply don’t compare well with the nation’s fast-growing cities. In fact, these days we are competing with the world. You mention Nashville, which is currently experiencing explosive growth. Music and tourism are major drivers in their economy, but those industries are far from the only ones. Nashville is today a major hub for the health care industry. Several companies (like Nissan) have relocated their headquarters to the region to take advantage of lower taxes and financial incentives. Construction cranes are everywhere. People move there from all parts of the country and even the world to fill jobs. Toss in scenic beauty, a temperate climate, and friendly people, and one can understand why the region is attracting so many newcomers. I highlight Nashville, because I’ve been there several times and am amazed at all the activity. I was born in Little Rock and have lived here most of my life. It frustrates me to see an area with such potential struggle to grow, while metros in surrounding states surge in economic and population growth. I don’t take for granted the positives that have occurred here over the last 10-15 years, but we really could be doing so much better. If we don’t improve our competitiveness, we will fall further behind our fast-growing neighbors.
  3. LIT uPP

    Little Rock Population Estimates

    Metroplan just released its "Metrotrends 2014 Demographic Review and Outlook," and the picture it paints for the Little Rock area is uninspiring, if not disheartening. The MSA's rate of population growth has slowed to a level not seen since the 1980s. All counties in the MSA are slowing. Metroplan estimates that 728,175 people now live in the LR/NLR/Conway MSA, an increase of only about 7,000 from last year. There is little chance we reach 800,000 by 2020. 750,000 would be a more reasonable target. While Little Rock and North Little Rock actually grew faster between 2010-2014 than they did between 2000-2010, they still lagged far behind several suburban cities in overall growth rate. Bryant is by far the fastest growing city in the MSA with a 3.7% annual growth rate between 2010 and 2014. In fact, Saline County was the fastest growing county at a 2.1% annual rate, while Faulkner County was second with 1.7% - a far cry from its 2.8% annual rate between 2000 and 2010. The report notes that one of the reasons for slowing growth is the lack of jobs in the area. Recently, Arkansas was ranked in the bottom five for job growth between 2010 and 2014. Unfortunately, there don't appear to be any prospects for reversing the trend in the near future. The full report can be found at the following link: http://www.metroplan.org/files/53/2014Demo.pdf
  4. LIT uPP

    Riverdale area

    This looks like it will be a nice addition to the Riverdale area. A subsidiary of the American Taekwondo Association has purchased the undeveloped land to the south of Riverdale Road, between Riverfront Drive and Brookwood Drive, for a new "world headquarters" of the ATA. There was an item on the Little Rock Planning Commission agenda a few weeks ago, but the submitters, Martial Arts Services Inc, asked for a delay.
  5. MT's 2009 vision for this block was far more ambitious than the reality taking place today. You can view that vision at the following link: http://www.oxleyartgraphics.com/LRRiverMarket-MTMap.html I wish they would wait a few years for the market to improve in order to announce a more impactful project - if they can regain their financial footing. They must be very disappointed with the current situation, as we all seem to be.
  6. LIT uPP

    The River Market

    Is this an image of "what might have been" or of "what still might be"? http://www.oxleyartgraphics.com/LRRiverMarket-MTMap.html The above link shows a conceptual rendering of the River Market District as envisioned by Moses Tucker in 2007. Some of the buildings are now reality, such as the Arcade, the River Market Tower, and a hotel at the NE corner of 3rd and River Market - a Residence Inn, although the image clearly indicates the desire was for an Aloft. The most interesting part of the image involves the block where the Arkla building once stood. The rendering shows three modern-looking multi-story buildings, the tallest of which is a 16 story tower. Obviously, part of this concept has changed with the announcement of MacArthur Commons. A hotel has been announced for the northern half of the block, but there has been no official announcement or rendering. Is it possible that Moses Tucker still plans a multi-use tower with the hotel as only one component, or has the weakened economy taken it's toll on the tower plans?
  7. LIT uPP

    Riverdale area

    A capsule in last week's Arkansas Business states that a subsidiary of the American Taekwondo Association has purchased the undeveloped land to the south of Riverdale Road, between Riverfront Drive and Brookwood Drive, for a new "world headquarters" of the ATA. There was no mention of timing for the project.
  8. LIT uPP

    Park Avenue

    This is an item on next week's planning agenda. Doctor's Hospital and its parking deck will be demolished to make way for a four story, 72,000 square foot, office/clinic building on the west - developed by Little Rock Medical Associates. For the time being, the remaining space to the east will become surface parking space. Future plans call for an additional office/clinic complex and parking deck.
  9. Fencing now surrounds the project, and excavation has begun on the surface parking lot.
  10. McKibbon’s website shows a very basic image of how the hotel will appear upon completion, along with some construction photos. Interestingly, their development page also shows some images of the Aloft Hotel they are developing in downtown Asheville, NC. I guess we’re not hip or touristy enough for Aloft. http://www.mckibbon....tels/under-dev/
  11. LIT uPP

    Chenal Parkway / Highway 10

    Whole Foods may be close to announcing another West Little Rock location. The agenda for the August 2nd Planning Commission meeting includes an item for Whole Foods at the Northeast corner of Chenal and Bowman. That would be the location of Best Buy and the former Linens ‘N Things – now the Faithspring Church (I believe is the name). Unless the church plans to abandon its current location, I can’t imagine any other location where Whole Foods might locate on that NE corner. When the full agenda is released before the meeting, we’ll know more. Another item on the agenda requests a median break on Chenal between Autumn and Bowman to serve the Best Buy shopping center. On an unrelated note, there are several items regarding planned commercial developments along Highway 10. A new round of activity may soon begin along that corridor. Currently, two “upscale” apartment complexes are in various stages of construction between Chenonceau and Chenal.
  12. The parking lot to the west of the Blass Building has been empty for the past week. The plumbing permits for the Blass Building, parking deck, and annex were recently issued. Looks like the construction and renovation will begin soon.
  13. LIT uPP

    Park Avenue

    The store directory page of the Park Avenue website lists Panera Bread as coming in the summer of 2012. It also lists two tenants opening in the fall of 2012: Jered Jewelers and Dos Margaritas (whose only other stores appear to be in the Nashville, Tennessee area). There is no mention of the once-listed LA Fitness, although it still may be on the horizon.
  14. LIT uPP

    Midtowne Little Rock

    Arkansas Business reports that two stores should soon occupy the space formerly occupied by Lewis & Clark Outfitters. They are Romeoville, IL based Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc and Charlotte, NC based Versona Accessories. The president and CEO of Midtowne’s owner, Miller Capital Advisory, believes the center should be 100% leased by the end of the year.
  15. LIT uPP

    Chenal Parkway / Highway 10

    The article in Arkansas Business a few weeks ago stated that the Kroger Company is in the process of purchasing the land to the east of the existing Kroger, along with the existing store and adjoining 10,000 square foot retail space. They plan to build a 113,000 square foot store to replace the current 51,300 square foot grocery. Kroger plans to open the new store by Christmas, after which it will tear down the old store for additional parking. The article did not mention demolition of the adjoining retail space.