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tim2462

Midtowne Little Rock

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I'd also love to see Apple, and Cheesecake factory.

I'd also like to see J Crew and Urban Outfitters (2 opposite types of clothing stores, but yes both would be nice)

Yes, I'm going to be very surprised (even disappointed) if an Apple store isn't in the works for that intersection (Midtowne or Park Plaza). I think we would have heard this by now though...there is a site that an individual runs that "guesstimates" likely cities that will be getting an Apple store (http://www.ifoapplestore.com/stores/future_stores.html). Its not scientific of course...though he's applied some empirical formula to compute this. Anyway, LR is like 13th on the current list or so.

Apple might be more appropriate for Park Plaza, and who knows what's up their sleeve as they'll be announcing new tenants with the multi-million dollar renovation (which is looking VERY sharp by the way if you haven't been in there).

J Crew, Urban Outfitters, and Cheesecake Factory would be great as well.

p.s. If Des Moines (smaller than LR SMSA) can support Apple and Cheesecake Factory, so can Little Rock (though the Jordan Creek Towne Center in Des Moines is a major development)!

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Yes, I'm going to be very surprised (even disappointed) if an Apple store isn't in the works for that intersection (Midtowne or Park Plaza). I think we would have heard this by now though...there is a site that an individual runs that "guesstimates" likely cities that will be getting an Apple store (http://www.ifoapplestore.com/stores/future_stores.html). Its not scientific of course...though he's applied some empirical formula to compute this. Anyway, LR is like 13th on the current list or so.

Apple might be more appropriate for Park Plaza, and who knows what's up their sleeve as they'll be announcing new tenants with the multi-million dollar renovation (which is looking VERY sharp by the way if you haven't been in there).

J Crew, Urban Outfitters, and Cheesecake Factory would be great as well.

p.s. If Des Moines (smaller than LR SMSA) can support Apple and Cheesecake Factory, so can Little Rock (though the Jordan Creek Towne Center in Des Moines is a major development)!

I think the presence of a real "big time" development in Des Moines that either you got in on the ground floor of or sat out for decades really helped Des Moines bring in some retail coups.

Little Rock and NWA are currently in a funk of bringing in significant but well, ordinary, developments that aren't particularly striking and aren't making regional or national waves. I am kind of hoping University Mall ultimately represents LR's opportunity for this, though I can see the Apple Store going in Midtowne. I think there's enormous potential for whatever replaces what's currently University Mall. With Midtowne and a renovated Park Plaza this is the state's largest dense concentration of upscale retail by far. University and the nearby Sears land represent a significant amount of land that could be revitalized. This is the one place in the city I think an upscale mixed-use development centered on retail would work. This really could incorporate the "town center" concepts that a lot of Arkansas developments are giving lip service to but don't really incorporate. Such a development could include retail offices on the upper floors over ground-floor retail, a major hotel, several restaurant slots, additional physician's offices (which St Vincent's is clamoring for) and lofts with underground parking and adjacent parking decks. Even better, perhaps this could all be connected to Park Plaza and Midtown via designated bridges to create a contiguous retail corridor. If all of this happened in this manner, I would actually support something I previously opposed - closing the War Memorial Golf Course and allowing the land on University to be added to this redevelopment and using the sale (and possibly a TIF) to finance renovation and expansion of the zoo, superficial improvements to Ray Winder, and turning War Memorial park into the real jewel of LR's park system with fountains, etc. Add in the rumors about War Memorial Stadium renovation and a long-term deal for Hog games coming up again soon and there's potential for a shining core at the heart of LR where we are all concerned a couple of years ago that the Summit Mall would leave the area boarded up.

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I don't know where the best place to put this post is but this thread has a lot of talk about Midtown in it.

Little Rock is sending its city manager and two councilmen to Indiana to meet with execs from the nation's larger mall owner, Simon Properties, about University Mall. They are unhappy with the halfhearted renovation (only $1.5 million) that Simon is planning and the high vacancy rate and condition of the property. Simon for years had proposed to build a new megamall in WLR in the 2 million SF range and leave University for this but this eventually fizzled and new "lifestyle centers" at various locations in LR. So, Simon is just sitting on University which represents the best available parcel of developable land in LR right now if the mall closes. Simon either needs to throw $20-30 million into a complete renovation or rebuilding or agree to end the lease and allow the owners to sell it. I hope the city makes some headway up there.

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I don't know where the best place to put this post is but this thread has a lot of talk about Midtown in it.

Little Rock is sending its city manager and two councilmen to Indiana to meet with execs from the nation's larger mall owner, Simon Properties, about University Mall. They are unhappy with the halfhearted renovation (only $1.5 million) that Simon is planning and the high vacancy rate and condition of the property. Simon for years had proposed to build a new megamall in WLR in the 2 million SF range and leave University for this but this eventually fizzled and new "lifestyle centers" at various locations in LR. So, Simon is just sitting on University which represents the best available parcel of developable land in LR right now if the mall closes. Simon either needs to throw $20-30 million into a complete renovation or rebuilding or agree to end the lease and allow the owners to sell it. I hope the city makes some headway up there.

This is as good a place to post this topic as any other. No need for a new forum.

The Arkansas Times is blogging about this meeting today. The Times is skeptical. Reportedly, one of the reasons the City representatives are meeting with Simon is to follow up on a 25k promise Simon made to pay for the Urban Land Institute Study of Midtown in 2000. I was in the Board meeting when the Simon representative made the promise. After the West LR deal fell apart, Simon claimed the 25K promise was in condition that the Summit Mall went forward. There were no conditions discussed at the time the promise was made. While 25K should not stand in the way of the City and Simon working with each other, it is has become a symbol of the distrust between the two entities.

I am not as cynical as the Times about the prospects with Simon because Director Hurst made herself instrumental in working with Lou Shickel and Jim Strode to help the Midtowne project advance. Recall that Lou Shickel delayed the project by a year or two because he purchased property where the Midtowne Project is currently being developed, then refused to sell. A shrewd competitive move that, in my opinion, hurt the City more than his competition.

The significant difference with the foot-dragging at the Midtowne site is that Lou Shickel is a local developer with ties to the community. Simon is not. I believe Shickel's community ties helped leverage him into selling the property to Mr. Strode. I give Director Hurst only 50/50 chance that she will succeed, but I beleive she is a good person to send for a try.

I believe the advancement of the University Mall site is going to occur through the court. This is very unfortunate because of the current judge. St. Vincent is another party that will have some influence. I beleive they would very much like to expand onto the University Mall Site. I was on a flight recently with a couple of architects and a St. Vincent representative. They were headed somewhere to tour another hospital.

Anyone notice that Bruce Burrow purchased the Brandon House site on University south of I-630?

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This is as good a place to post this topic as any other. No need for a new forum.

The Arkansas Times is blogging about this meeting today. The Times is skeptical. Reportedly, one of the reasons the City representatives are meeting with Simon is to follow up on a 25k promise Simon made to pay for the Urban Land Institute Study of Midtown in 2000. I was in the Board meeting when the Simon representative made the promise. After the West LR deal fell apart, Simon claimed the 25K promise was in condition that the Summit Mall went forward. There were no conditions discussed at the time the promise was made. While 25K should not stand in the way of the City and Simon working with each other, it is has become a symbol of the distrust between the two entities.

I am not as cynical as the Times about the prospects with Simon because Director Hurst made herself instrumental in working with Lou Shickel and Jim Strode to help the Midtowne project advance. Recall that Lou Shickel delayed the project by a year or two because he purchased property where the Midtowne Project is currently being developed, then refused to sell. A shrewd competitive move that, in my opinion, hurt the City more than his competition.

The significant difference with the foot-dragging at the Midtowne site is that Lou Shickel is a local developer with ties to the community. Simon is not. I believe Shickel's community ties helped leverage him into selling the property to Mr. Strode. I give Director Hurst only 50/50 chance that she will succeed, but I beleive she is a good person to send for a try.

I believe the advancement of the University Mall site is going to occur through the court. This is very unfortunate because of the current judge. St. Vincent is another party that will have some influence. I beleive they would very much like to expand onto the University Mall Site. I was on a flight recently with a couple of architects and a St. Vincent representative. They were headed somewhere to tour another hospital.

Anyone notice that Bruce Burrow purchased the Brandon House site on University south of I-630?

I didn't know all of this but I'm not surprised as Schickel had some rather sketchy dealings with my family, who were prominent LR realtors, many years ago.

Just out of curiousity, what is the story with the current judge?

St Vincent's main campus has struggled since Baptist built its new campus in West LR and SVI is getting more and more dated. Though this is purely speculative, you have to wonder if they are going to start thinking about building a completely new hospital at some point. Building it across the street where University Mall or Sears is now would allow it to unify with the Doctor's Hospital campus they own and also unite the hospital with many of the offices of physicians that practice there. That might open up the area of the current SVI campus to development.

I really don't want to see the area where Sears and University Mall stand now occupied by ordinary mid-rise physician office towers. That land is so prime for development, maybe the best such parcel in the state. A mixed use development incorporating lots of ground-level retail with offices and possible a residential condo/apt component above them in mid-rise buildings would be ideal. The midtown area is lacking, above all, restaurant pads. Sure, there are a number of terrific local restaurants in the Heights and Hillcrest but the national chains have been largely localized to West LR and the McCain corridor. Opening up restaurant pads for more upscale restaurant chains should be a priority in developing the corridor. I think a village/town center type of development could really incorporate all of these uses best. If we wanted to get REALLY ballsy public funding could be used to develop it the way Southlake Town Center did in suburban DFW. I would overwhelmingly support that but it would be a hard sell to eternally skeptic LR voters.

Target has wanted to get into that area for years but finding a large enough site has been difficult, thus the stink with the city wanting to give them a piece of War Memorial Park a few years ago.

As for Brandon House, what other use would that building be good for? I wonder if Burrow is planning on tearing it down and building a shopping center there.

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Belz-Burrow is planning to develop the Brandon property into an office complex. They will be spending $5 million to redo the building.

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Belz-Burrow is planning to develop the Brandon property into an office complex. They will be spending $5 million to redo the building.

Strange place for an office complex. I wonder if the Arvest building across University is fully occupied.

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Strange place for an office complex. I wonder if the Arvest building across University is fully occupied.

How big is the Arvest building?

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Little Rock has hired a private consultant to help outline its plans for War Memorial Park and the Midtown corridor. The costs will largely be paid for through a private grant. The consultant is the same man that designed Forest Park in St Louis, which if you haven't been there is a terrific urban park incorporating the St Louis Zoo, Museum of Science and Discovery, etc. He's going to use the input of city residents in various meetings and try to incorporate that into a plan for the park. Included in this will be what to do with Ray Winder Field.

I'm becoming more and more excited about what Midtown could become but the key to the whole modernization of the corridor is to get something done about University Mall. It's the big roadblock in the middle of all this right now but the land it sits on, along with Sears, could really be something special.

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Don't know where else to put it but if you follow this link you can see some pictures of the renovations going on at Park Plaza and a couple of very small, difficult to assess sketches of what it will look like.

Park Plaza Redo

Does anybody know what will become of the old theater space downstairs? That might make a nice restaurant site.

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THV just reported that the liquor licesnse for the proposed club in University Mall was rejected. Reasons included the opposition of the club by residents in the area, the LR police chief and the fact that the club owner had some sort of a police record.

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THV just reported that the liquor licesnse for the proposed club in University Mall was rejected. Reasons included the opposition of the club by residents in the area, the LR police chief and the fact that the club owner had some sort of a police record.

Putting a ghetto nightclub into University Mall sounds like just about the worst idea ever. I'd like to give a big middle finger to Simon for even proposing it. I'd also like to flip off Simon for just about everything they did with that mall. I'm so glad Park Plaza has different ownership in charge of it.

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Putting a ghetto nightclub into University Mall sounds like just about the worst idea ever. I'd like to give a big middle finger to Simon for even proposing it. I'd also like to flip off Simon for just about everything they did with that mall. I'm so glad Park Plaza has different ownership in charge of it.

Then again. Maybe it would have been the best for University Mall if the nightclub had been approved. Shootings, fights,etc... It would have been the death toll for this mall and then it could finally be sold to someone who really wants to develop this site into something worth while. Hey, I was driving north on I-430 today and noticed a large dust cloud near Shackleford and I-430 area. The trees are coming down.

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News from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about University Mall. Simon claims to be doing work to upgrade the mall. But it turns out that no permits have been issued for any projects. Little Rock requires any work over $500 dollars to have a permit. In court Simon claims that work is ongoing.

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News from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about University Mall. Simon claims to be doing work to upgrade the mall. But it turns out that no permits have been issued for any projects. Little Rock requires any work over $500 dollars to have a permit. In court Simon claims that work is ongoing.

I don't understand Simon. I do not believe that they are dumb. Are they not considered to be a goliath in retail development? Simon developed the Mall of America. McCain Mall is a Simon Property. I have not heard of any issues between Simon and NLR.

It will be interesting to hear how this permits story unfolds. It was the LR permitting process the ultimately torpedoed the Summit Mall.

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Putting a ghetto nightclub into University Mall sounds like just about the worst idea ever. I'd like to give a big middle finger to Simon for even proposing it. I'd also like to flip off Simon for just about everything they did with that mall. I'm so glad Park Plaza has different ownership in charge of it.

It is understandable that you don't like Simon. But, you sound prejudice too. Why does this nightclub have to be "ghetto." Is it because the owner is black? Are Midtown Billiards and Juanitas "ghetto"?

Check out the Urban Land Institute study for the University Mall site. It propses an 18+ screen theater. I think this is a good fit for the area. However, it would fail as a Little Rock movie house if it did not show Spike Lee and John Singleton movies.

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I don't understand Simon. I do not believe that they are dumb. Are they not considered to be a goliath in retail development? Simon developed the Mall of America. McCain Mall is a Simon Property. I have not heard of any issues between Simon and NLR.

It will be interesting to hear how this permits story unfolds. It was the LR permitting process the ultimately torpedoed the Summit Mall.

Simon does this everywhere. It is the nation's largest owner of shopping malls but it generally fails to maintain existing malls and prefers new construction. There are decaying Simon Properties across the country. The same thing happened to the Richardson Square Mall in a nice area north of Dallas, they let it falter until Dillard's and other major tenants moved out and built a new mall (well, an outdoor "town center" in North Garland 10 min away.

It is understandable that you don't like Simon. But, you sound prejudice too. Why does this nightclub have to be "ghetto." Is it because the owner is black? Are Midtown Billiards and Juanitas "ghetto"?

Check out the Urban Land Institute study for the University Mall site. It propses an 18+ screen theater. I think this is a good fit for the area. However, it would fail as a Little Rock movie house if it did not show Spike Lee and John Singleton movies.

1. Nightclubs don't belong in a mall. If a mall is replacing department stores with nightclubs something is wrong. "Ghetto" refers to the setting of the club as much as anything, in an abandoned Osco Drug that's been that way for as long as I can remember, not to mentione the other abandoned anchors.

2. Crime is a big issue at the nightclubs that stay open until 5 (gay bars, aside), particularly the nightclub at University and Asher right up the road. LRPD spends more time at that place than any other site in town, including most housing projects and Shipley's. That club is mostly white and the owner is white. If you associate the term "ghetto" with race then you're the prejudiced one.

3. Regarding Juanita's and Midtown - in a way, yes. The area has become an area for people to congregate around the street and harass the people going into the bar/restaurants and there have been a lot of auto break-ins and vandalism in the parking lots there. Generally, you run about a 50/50 chance of being asked for money. Midtown is a little intentionally "ghetto" and that's part of its charm, Juanita's is a nice place. I still know a lot of people that refuse to go to either because of incidents that happened to them in the parking lot, though.

The Heights Property Owners's Association, the Hillcrest Residents Association, and Briarwood and other surrounding neighborhoods vehemently opposed it. It was a bad, bad idea and the worst part of it is that it would allow Simon to make a little money it could use to continue to shirk its responsibilities on the property.

Simon is clearly seeking to bring in third tier tenants to keep the mall alive enough to create revenue for themselves regardless of its negative impact on the area. The adjacent residential neighborhoods have every right to oppose it and their complaints are legitimate.

Edited by Aporkalypse

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I would like to add that I cant remember the last time McCain Mall had even a minor renovation. The roof leaks like crazy. Every time it rains they have buckets and trash cans spread throughout the mall to catch the water. I have talked with a few simon executives about any renovations being planned with this mall and they say its in "relatively good shape compared to other malls". I would like to give kudos to CBL for revamping Park Plaza to keep it looking new and fresh.

I see McCain taking the same road as University to be honest with you. There are stores leaving McCain pretty soon and I honestly dont see who is going to come in. The thing is that there are 3 really attractive empty spaces that havent been filled. One has been empty over 2 years (by empty I mean no permanent tenant, as a temporary can be moved at anytime). If those spaces are still available, then I would think this mall has become less than desireable for big name retailers right now. Bottom line; if they wanted to be in McCain, they could but are choosing not to be. Malls are usually good at 85-90% occupancy, but they usually dont have so many good spaces available near the "50 yard line".

I hope I am wrong about McCain, I really do.

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I would like to add that I cant remember the last time McCain Mall had even a minor renovation. The roof leaks like crazy. Every time it rains they have buckets and trash cans spread throughout the mall to catch the water. I have talked with a few simon executives about any renovations being planned with this mall and they say its in "relatively good shape compared to other malls". I would like to give kudos to CBL for revamping Park Plaza to keep it looking new and fresh.

I see McCain taking the same road as University to be honest with you. There are stores leaving McCain pretty soon and I honestly dont see who is going to come in. The thing is that there are 3 really attractive empty spaces that havent been filled. One has been empty over 2 years (by empty I mean no permanent tenant, as a temporary can be moved at anytime). If those spaces are still available, then I would think this mall has become less than desireable for big name retailers right now. Bottom line; if they wanted to be in McCain, they could but are choosing not to be. Malls are usually good at 85-90% occupancy, but they usually dont have so many good spaces available near the "50 yard line".

I hope I am wrong about McCain, I really do.

Yeah, I would've said Park Plaza was in considerably better shape than McCain pre-renovation. I also think CBL was ambitious to fund that kind of renovation and Park Plaza and I am very optimistic this has guaranteed Dillard's will continue to stay there and it will continue to be the region's upscale mall.

I haven't been in McCain in a while but it was renovated at one point, though I would say that was 15 years ago or so. The decor, fountains, etc have a decided 1980s look, very similar to the Richardson Square Mall I mentioned. It has essentially spawned a massive retail district along US 67 and McCain Blvd and I think that will help it keep its occupancy but no doubt it could be so much more than Simon is letting it be.

For those of you in the Fayetteville area, NWA Mall and McCain are nearly exactly the same in size and layout. If you remember NWA Mall before the last renovation, that's McCain. It's like a time capsule to the days of swatches and rolled-up jeans.

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Yeah, I would've said Park Plaza was in considerably better shape than McCain pre-renovation. I also think CBL was ambitious to fund that kind of renovation and Park Plaza and I am very optimistic this has guaranteed Dillard's will continue to stay there and it will continue to be the region's upscale mall.

I haven't been in McCain in a while but it was renovated at one point, though I would say that was 15 years ago or so. The decor, fountains, etc have a decided 1980s look, very similar to the Richardson Square Mall I mentioned. It has essentially spawned a massive retail district along US 67 and McCain Blvd and I think that will help it keep its occupancy but no doubt it could be so much more than Simon is letting it be.

For those of you in the Fayetteville area, NWA Mall and McCain are nearly exactly the same in size and layout. If you remember NWA Mall before the last renovation, that's McCain. It's like a time capsule to the days of swatches and rolled-up jeans.

I lived in Fayetteville during the pre-renovation and after the mall was completed. You are exactly right about similar feel that the pre-renovation NWA mall has with McCain. Now in my opinon NWA Mall looks great. Honestly I feel like Lakewood Village has a more updated feel than McCain mall, being that it is sort of an outdoor lifestyle center before its time.

The amount of money Simon spends on McCain is dramatically different than it was say, 15 years ago. I am sure some remember the fountains in here, the awesome christmas set up with trains, etc etc.

I think Simon was really banking on the Summit Mall so they could do what was mentioned earlier, profit off of a new mall instead of updating their other malls. It just doesnt seem they have any intrest in updating what they have. I think the NWA Mall renovation happened with the Macerich Company took over. I wonder if they would want to buy McCain?? Someone make some calls... :D

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Speaking of malls, today I passed the Summit Mall site on I-430 and they are steadily clearing the site. It appeared that about 80 acres is already cleared with a buffer of trees around the perimeter. Looks like it is moving ahead.

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Speaking of malls, today I passed the Summit Mall site on I-430 and they are steadily clearing the site. It appeared that about 80 acres is already cleared with a buffer of trees around the perimeter. Looks like it is moving ahead.

It must be something else, I dont think Summit Mall is still on the table at all..

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