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  1. It's supposed to be a freestanding Japanese restaurant...cause there's not enough of those around already or anything.... But hey at least it's not another Mexican place, pizza joint, bank, or burger place. It's also not 100% set in stone.
  2. Zoe's actually opened back up due to the their contractual agreements when the property was sold. Although I think it will close again in the near future. Red Lobster and Olive Garden continue to drop in sales. They do ok in Little Rock but follow the downward trend of the brands nationally. David's Burgers actually does fairly well with average unit volume of around $2M in its 10 locations in Central Arkansas. The same goes for Tacos4Life and Slim Chickens. Both of those brands do very well in our area. McDonalds stores still see high volumes no surprises there although they're on a slightly downward trend compared to last two years sales. It takes about $3M in sales to break even in a full size McDonalds operation. Chick-Fil-A is the leader in sales in Central Arkansas with between $3.7M - $4.9M sales figures throughout the Central Arkansas area. Overall local chains as an aggregate are beating out the national competition in our market with a few exceptions.
  3. You're correct. I drove by today and they were surprisingly busy. Upon further research I believe the arrangement is that the building and property where Zoe's is located recently sold in the last few months. As part of the sale, Zoe's had to be open to pay rent for a fixed amount of time. I think they were closed for a time but opened back up as a condition of the sales contract. I don't know this to be the case 100% but I'm 85% certain this to be the case. We will see if they remain open. Overall I think it a poor decision to go head to head with Taziki's less than a stone's throw away.
  4. It's a much more simple theory. Central Arkansas in general is very adverse to chains. There are exceptions like Chick-Fila and things like that. But anyone looking to introduce chains to Central Arkansas is usually in for a hard fought situation. Many chain restaurants that do gangbusters in other markets do not experience similar sales in Little Rock but it's the same in Conway, NLR, Benton, Bryant, etc. One good example is Blaze Pizza. It's the fastest growing, often more profitable chains in the country. But the franchisee who signed a multi-store deal for Arkansas has stopped building stores after Conway and Little Rock. Most likely those existing stores are up for sale. I'm hearing discussions that the one in Pleasant Ridge will close. Krispy Kreme stores overbuilt and alot of them have closed but the one on Shackleford shouldn't have. Donuts do make money or else the Shipleys wouldn't be open. But we all support Shipleys over Krispy Kreme. David's Burgers over all the others. Slim Chickens and Chick Fila over the others. Tacos4Life over the others. On and on it goes. So we can't expect Joe's Crab Shack or something like that cause there's just not enough support there.
  5. Because single family residents will always complain about having apartments. Doesn't matter if they are luxury apartments or low income housing. Apartments will always be blamed for everything from crime to traffic problems. Folks at the city don't like to hear complaints so that's when these types of things start occurring. Additionally, the City may not have enough utility infrastructure to support large numbers of concentrated residents along some portions of town. I would say having worked in Bryant and other parts of Saline County that a lot of residents would say "oh send that stuff over to Benton".
  6. Burger 21, Zen Thai, Zoe's Kitchen, Krispy Kreme, Mooyah have all closed in West Little Rock in the last 30 days or so. Look for more closings as the restaurant trend moves more towards off-premise 3rd party delivery. Smaller footprints with less foot traffic in the store. More kiosks replacing traditional order taking at the counter particularly in QSR concepts. Increase in self check out in grocery as well. Increase to $11/hr minimum wage is changing the labor market. Those that can't absorb (usually chains as we are seeing) are closing their doors. Also an increasing rate of closures in Chenal Promenade. Some new concepts opening in vacant spaces. Time will tell if those will stay. Look for more restaurant closings around Cantrell and Taylor Loop as well as Chenal and Markham.
  7. It's unlikely that Costco will ever be able to break into Arkansas. Wal-Mart would likely be able to, as they have for so many years, stave off the effort to Costco or any similar competitor to move into home territory.
  8. I'm not upset. Definitely not upset that someone is disappointed that a development doesn't occur. It's just prudent to call you out. Everybody hopes and wishes for developments to move forward. When they don't it's not really fair to treat the people who worked on those projects like villains cause it didn't get done. Then throw up support for other developers who have done the same thing by not getting other projects on Main finished, but in your eyes are better cause some other things worked out for them. You can say it's "not being critical" until you're blue in the face. That's complete BS. I took it the way everybody else who reads that took it. We all know you're going to state your opinions. Heaven forbid you shut up about stuff you don't really know anything about. You and people like you that throw a judgement blanket over things in our town are exactly everything that is wrong with our City. It's the little snarky crap that you spew out that divides Little Rock. Like I've said multiple times, rather than talk crap about people you don't know and projects that you have no idea what you're speaking about why don't you get out there and do something about it to help instead of sit there like some back seat driver. Give us all a break from your junk.
  9. I never said that your words mentioned that it would be easy. You characterize the developers as thinking it would be easy...in this statement you made here. I'm not mischaracterizing a thing. You said it. It's your opinion by your statements (that are hypocritical, unproductive, and useless), you criticize developers that in your view secure property along Main and walk away thought that it would be easy, get in over their head, and then walk away from projects. Then offer support of other developers that have completed some development. Nevermind that all of the groups you mention here have at one time or another secured property on Main Street and walked away from it just as the developers of the Boyle, Donaghey, and other buildings on Main. There are for sale signs up now with Moses Tucker on property they walked away from after making announcements. But they're not high profile cause they're not on the scale of Donaghey or Boyle because of size. My point is and has always been that you sit there and hit your little criticism button picking and choosing who you think is a good developer or a bad developer based on whether or not they got a project you wanted to see finished. You base your opinion on examples of developers you perhaps didn't know did the same thing you are being critical about. Yet I don't see you out there trying to make Little Rock better by doing something about Boyle or Donaghey yourself while criticizing others. You made the statements. Not me. It's not even about the statements you make. It's your attitude. "Another attempt at development down the drain." "Some of these developers come in and get in over their head." Good lord, shut up. Get out there and do something about it yourself or be quiet.
  10. You said that "developers think that it's going to be easy". Probably the single most idiotic statement I've ever heard. Why would you ever assume that a developer going into an eight figure development project would think it's going to be easy? Not all of them. Moses Tucker has on numerous occasions secured property on Main with the MMCohn Building, property to the south of Blass Building, and other property only to walk away from it or put a sale sign on it. So have the Alleys. So have the McKibbons who secured the Boyle Building twice, but never built anything there. So has Pinnacle. Interesting how you either don't know about that, fail to mention it if you do, or don't really care cause it doesn't support your criticism. The Boyle and Donaghey Buildings are simply the largest scale of vacant property on Main. By far the most difficult to pull off even more so than the new construction towers that have been built in the River Market. The market is going to ebb and flow. Instead of being hypocritical with statements you make, why not be supportive? Oh wait, I know the answer to that. Because it's easy to sit there and hit your opinion button and be "disappointed". How useful to the community...
  11. The developer of the Boyle Building has put up millions of his own money in redevelopment efforts. So has the development group that bought the Donaghey Building. As have countless other developers along Main Street, River Market and 5th/Capitol. Guys like that are the only reason why we even have anything going for Downtown LR redevelopment. I find it a bit hard and hypocritical for you or anyone to assume they go into these projects thinking it's going to be easy. Developers put up huge amounts of capital to be able to get into these projects only to have neighbors and "concerned citizens" tell them what to do with their own property and how to spend their money. At the end of the day, perhaps people like you ought to put up or shut up. Put your own hard earned money up on some property on Main and do it yourself or stop making useless comments on things you probably know nothing about.
  12. Perhaps you should make an offer on the Donaghey and Boyle Buildings. Seems like so many people feel like it's an easy task to get these structures renovated and productive having never even set foot in there present condition. Or even studied the economics behind their redevelopments options. There's a reason why they're empty and people are walking away from them.
  13. Not sure where ArDemGaz is getting their information from but I have first hand knowledge that the current owner of the closed Applebee's location is under contract with someone to sell the property and it's not Red Robin or anyone else associated with the brand. So that story is a bust. In speaking with the development team at Red Robin, the location in Benton was placed there because of the Dallas based property developers' close relationship with the brand. The property was also leased/sold to Red Robin under a hybrid deal that made it very cost effective for them to show up. The presence of the Red Robin in Benton also made sense to them because of the relative lack of competing restaurants. They've stated that the Little Rock market is in their opinion oversaturated with local and chain concepts that compete with Red Robin. The development team also cites the lack of good real estate in the City and they are unsure that opening a location in Little Rock would be a "home run".
  14. The thing to realize about the seafood restaurants is the cost of doing business. Food cost alone is about 40% of revenue generally. Unless you're in a really dense area you're generally not going to see something like Pappadeaux or Kona Grill. In order to combat the higher food cost, a bigger restaurant is necessary to do a larger volume. This is one of the reasons why Cajun's is as big as it is. Unless it's fried fish or that kind of food, it's generally harder to make money doing by your definition a true seafood restaurant. Restaurant scene in Little Rock leans heavily towards independent groups. The customer in Central Arkansas really supports locals so chains or out of town concepts don't generally do as well. That's being in the restaurant industry in the city for 35 years talking. I strongly agree with you that we don't need any more burger, Mexican, pizza, asian restaurants. I'm pretty sure we got all that covered. But the simple fact of the matter is that the customer supports these types of concepts, especially if they are local. Tacos4Life, David's Burgers, Big Orange, US Pizza, Señor Tequila, on and on. Having diversity in restaurant selection is great but if the customers don't support them then they close down. I also agree that we need more family friendly options. Main Event would be fun. Playtime Pizza did not make money for most of its existence. So again, you and some other consumers may really want something specific. But if the rest of the general population in the area don't support things that do come through, other things that provide diversity aren't going to show face. Zaxby's is also a really good example. Yet another Slim Chickens, ChickFilA competitor. They opened the Little Rock store on Kanis LAST out of the 4-5 in the MSA. #1 - Because they couldn't find good real estate and #2 - Because they were fearful that they wouldn't be successful if Little Rock was the first or second location. I know it's another QSR brand but it's a successful one as another example - Panda Express. They have five locations or more in NWA. One in Hot Springs, Conway, etc but not Little Rock. It's not for lack of trying but they can't find the real estate and the competition comp set from the independents is too strong. Not saying that I'm right but it's just my observation over quite a long period of time in the restaurant industry. I very much wish it were different.
  15. Looks like you were right. Was driving to Colonel Glenn area on some business today and saw what looked to be a large amount of new Mini vehicles parked towards the rear of McLarty Honda. I suppose they came from Parker Mini being redistributed for sale at BMW of Little Rock owned by Mark McLarty.
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