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tim2462

Midtowne Little Rock

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Some thoughts on Midtown LR:

As part of Park Plaza's renovation (now up to $12.5 million), there will be new storefronts accessible from only the outside. I'm not sure exactly how they're going to do this.

The University Mall situation is stagnant with Simon doing patchwork renovations. Now the property owners will have the right to inspect their work per the district judge.

Shackleford Crossing is going to pull in JC Penney's which will mean only MM Cohn's will be left at University Mall. Can you imagine that MM Cohn's will stay as the only remaining department store?

Here's the current list of University Mall tenants, which is already less than half occupied and many of its tenants aren't exactly prime:

Accessories

AccessorEYES

Cards / Books / Gifts / Stationery

Dollar Tree

Department Stores

JCPenney

MM Cohn

Health and Beauty

Dollar Tree

GNC

JCPenney Salon

Home Furnishings

Trevors

Jewelry

Gold n Diamonds

Men's & Women's Fashions

Novel Teez

Men's Fashions

GQ For Men

Greg's Store For Men

The Stitching Post

Restaurants (order at the counter)

Chinese Food

Franke's Cafeteria

Millionaire Room Restaurant and Catering

Munchees

Sbarro

Services

Cosmetic Pampering Studio

HV Wheel and Tire

Scholars Learning Center

Shoes

Finish Line

Foot Locker

Paul's Shoes

Payless ShoeSource

The Shoe Department

Specialty Shops

Advanced Computer Innovations

Bee Distributing

Custom USA

Life Uniform

U.S. Army Recruiters

U.S. Marine Recruiters

U.S. Navy Recruiters

Sporting Goods / Activewear

Champs Sports

Finish Line

Foot Locker

The Shoe Department

Women's Fashions

Millennium

Nouri

Rave

Simply Fashions

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It's a shame what Simon has done to University Mall. I'm glad the Summit Mall project was rejected b/c of what they did to University Mall. With all of the money that the owners of Park Plaza are putting into that mall and with Midtowne, Simon should get off of their butts and do something with University Mall. People will be flocking to the area to shop and Simon is just going to miss the boat.

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It's a shame what Simon has done to University Mall. I'm glad the Summit Mall project was rejected b/c of what they did to University Mall. With all of the money that the owners of Park Plaza are putting into that mall and with Midtowne, Simon should get off of their butts and do something with University Mall. People will be flocking to the area to shop and Simon is just going to miss the boat.

At this point I support the owners and just wish Simon would get out. I'm not sure the mall is rehabilitable at all but the location is premium.

Penney's is leaving soon for West LR and with only MM Cohn's left and that chain doing poorly I bet they choose to close. I think that at that point Simon will be losing more money than they are paying on their lease. I think it would be even better to have boycotts or protests but I don't know if people really care enough to do it.

In terms of mall-caliber retail space LR actually probably has less now than it did in the mid-80s. No new malls have been built and University is essentially unusable. Even with the new "lifestyle centers" and "power center" at Shackleford and in NLR at North Hills there still will be a retail deficit in Little Rock. University Mall is the best place to put more development, it would just be nice if Simon would do it themselves.

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At this point I support the owners and just wish Simon would get out. I'm not sure the mall is rehabilitable at all but the location is premium.

Penney's is leaving soon for West LR and with only MM Cohn's left and that chain doing poorly I bet they choose to close. I think that at that point Simon will be losing more money than they are paying on their lease. I think it would be even better to have boycotts or protests but I don't know if people really care enough to do it.

In terms of mall-caliber retail space LR actually probably has less now than it did in the mid-80s. No new malls have been built and University is essentially unusable. Even with the new "lifestyle centers" and "power center" at Shackleford and in NLR at North Hills there still will be a retail deficit in Little Rock. University Mall is the best place to put more development, it would just be nice if Simon would do it themselves.

Agreed.

They only reason why University Mall is open is because of JC Penny. Once it leaves, that will be the final nail in the coffin for the mall. Simon either needs to tear it down and redevelop it or sell it to someone who would. Another lifestyle center to compliment Park Plaza and Midtowne would put the University Ave corridor in a better position to compete with the 67/167-McCain area in NLR.

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Agreed.

They only reason why University Mall is open is because of JC Penny. Once it leaves, that will be the final nail in the coffin for the mall. Simon either needs to tear it down and redevelop it or sell it to someone who would. Another lifestyle center to compliment Park Plaza and Midtowne would put the University Ave corridor in a better position to compete with the 67/167-McCain area in NLR.

Just my opinion, but I don't believe that ANOTHER upscale "lifestyle" center here should be the solution. THE reason that University did not survive is that it is across the street from ANOTHER mall with the same tenants pursuing the same demographic (it didn't have anything to do with the "decline" of mid-town, rather pure competition. This would have happened if they were across the street from one another on Chenal Parkway).

When they both "reopened" in the late 80's, they had a lot of the same tenants - duplicates across the street. Now with Park Plaza being renovated again (quite nicely I might add), and the addition of the upscale MidTowne with the premier tenants in town, I just don't see how another, similar retail development would fare any better.

What should go there? I don't know. Perhaps it would be suited for mid-range, big box retail such as Target, etc. This is sorely missing in mid-town.

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When my wife and I travel, we always seek out the Factory Outlets stores. There are several good ones in Branson, Memphis and No. Miss., along with others. Although we've had factory outlet stores in Little Rock before, they never brought in enough of the quality name brand stores to anchor them. They all went belly up. Just one example of a quality name brand store is the Coleman Outlet store in Branson. The University Mall is past renovation and is going to have to be demolished and started over. In my opinion, a Factory Outlet mall would not only be a good fit, but would be prosperous and cater to a demographic that doesnt compete with Park Plaza and the newer Midtowne development.

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Just my opinion, but I don't believe that ANOTHER upscale "lifestyle" center here should be the solution. THE reason that University did not survive is that it is across the street from ANOTHER mall with the same tenants pursuing the same demographic (it didn't have anything to do with the "decline" of mid-town, rather pure competition. This would have happened if they were across the street from one another on Chenal Parkway).

When they both "reopened" in the late 80's, they had a lot of the same tenants - duplicates across the street. Now with Park Plaza being renovated again (quite nicely I might add), and the addition of the upscale MidTowne with the premier tenants in town, I just don't see how another, similar retail development would fare any better.

What should go there? I don't know. Perhaps it would be suited for mid-range, big box retail such as Target, etc. This is sorely missing in mid-town.

I agree with you that another upscale lifestyle center should go there. I agree that a center similar to Conway Commons or the one that is being built in Bryant should go there. A center anchored by Target and other stores like Belks would do well there I think catering to the middle class. I think Target would be very successful if it located in the area.

I do disagree with you that University Mall declined because it was across the street from another mall going after the same demographic. Those two competed for years, successfully. I remember making trips to both when I would go shopping because there was just enough of a difference in retail line up of the two that you could go to both an not see much of the same thing.

University Mall failed when Montgomery Ward went out of business and Osco Drug closed. Those two stores generated a lot of traffic for the mall and when Simon did nothing to replace them it was only a matter of time before the decline would start. University, to me, had only two anchors, JC Penny and Wards. MM Cohn has never provided a lot of foot traffic to the mall. JC Penney alone is not enough to keep the mall going without attracting other national tenants. That mall failed because Simon wanted it to.

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I agree with you that another upscale lifestyle center should go there. I agree that a center similar to Conway Commons or the one that is being built in Bryant should go there. A center anchored by Target and other stores like Belks would do well there I think catering to the middle class. I think Target would be very successful if it located in the area.

I do disagree with you that University Mall declined because it was across the street from another mall going after the same demographic. Those two competed for years, successfully. I remember making trips to both when I would go shopping because there was just enough of a difference in retail line up of the two that you could go to both an not see much of the same thing.

University Mall failed when Montgomery Ward went out of business and Osco Drug closed. Those two stores generated a lot of traffic for the mall and when Simon did nothing to replace them it was only a matter of time before the decline would start. University, to me, had only two anchors, JC Penny and Wards. MM Cohn has never provided a lot of foot traffic to the mall. JC Penney alone is not enough to keep the mall going without attracting other national tenants. That mall failed because Simon wanted it to.

I stand by my statement - the primary reason that it failed is because of competition. The fact that Simon turned its back on it was just the nail in the coffin, and accelerated its demise. Of course they'll both be viable for a while, because they were both new and had momentum. But again, they were trying to compete for the same demographic and had many of the same stores, and they were across the street from each other. It didn't offer anything that Park Plaza didn't. So, why would anyone go to both? I certainly didn't.

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I stand by my statement - the primary reason that it failed is because of competition. The fact that Simon turned its back on it was just the nail in the coffin, and accelerated its demise. Of course they'll both be viable for a while, because they were both new and had momentum. But again, they were trying to compete for the same demographic and had many of the same stores, and they were across the street from each other. It didn't offer anything that Park Plaza didn't. So, why would anyone go to both? I certainly didn't.

The only reason to go to University over Park Plaza was because of the department stores that were there, whereas Park Plaza only had Dillard's. You can say that University was doomed from the start because the renovations done at the time were inferior to those done at Park Plaza. Still, it wasn't THAT long ago that both Park Plaza and University were filled with respectable tenants. University was never as nice but at one point it had good stores Park Plaza didn't. Now it's begging people to come sell gold chains and T-shirts in kiosks.

What's happened since? Was there a glut of retail space to lure them away? Not at all, there was almost no increase in first-class retail space. West LR strip malls, even one as large and varied in tenants as Bowman Curve, weren't competing for the same tenants until the last few years when the Chico's and Sharper Images of the world got tired of waiting for decent space to open.

Look at all of the stores NWA has opening now. Even with Pleasant Ridge Town Center and Midtowne opening there are going to be a lot of stores that are in most comparable markets that won't be here. There will even be a few that are in NWA that aren't here.

I think there's need for more first-tier retail space and particularly for restaurant pads. The middle part of the city is lacking in good restaurant sites. There's been talk about St Vincent's wanting office space at that site and a Target going in there. Central LR needs a Home Depot or Lowe's. I'd rather see a more high-end mixed use development with restaurants and some retail space added to some office space where the mall was. I don't think University has any chance of surviving as an enclosed mall. If Simon were even trying, I'd be supportive but at this point it's just an embarassing eyesore.

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The only reason to go to University over Park Plaza was because of the department stores that were there, whereas Park Plaza only had Dillard's. You can say that University was doomed from the start because the renovations done at the time were inferior to those done at Park Plaza. Still, it wasn't THAT long ago that both Park Plaza and University were filled with respectable tenants. University was never as nice but at one point it had good stores Park Plaza didn't. Now it's begging people to come sell gold chains and T-shirts in kiosks.

What's happened since? Was there a glut of retail space to lure them away? Not at all, there was almost no increase in first-class retail space. West LR strip malls, even one as large and varied in tenants as Bowman Curve, weren't competing for the same tenants until the last few years when the Chico's and Sharper Images of the world got tired of waiting for decent space to open.

Look at all of the stores NWA has opening now. Even with Pleasant Ridge Town Center and Midtowne opening there are going to be a lot of stores that are in most comparable markets that won't be here. There will even be a few that are in NWA that aren't here.

I think there's need for more first-tier retail space and particularly for restaurant pads. The middle part of the city is lacking in good restaurant sites. There's been talk about St Vincent's wanting office space at that site and a Target going in there. Central LR needs a Home Depot or Lowe's. I'd rather see a more high-end mixed use development with restaurants and some retail space added to some office space where the mall was. I don't think University has any chance of surviving as an enclosed mall. If Simon were even trying, I'd be supportive but at this point it's just an embarassing eyesore.

Aporkalypse - I generally concur with your comments. However, aside from the given fact that Simon abandoned all effort to remain competitive some time ago, I still support the position that ultimately, only one of those two malls were going to survive in the long run due to their adjacency. Again - sure there were decent tenants for a while - but that experiment can only last so long until someone calls uncle. University Mall called uncle first - but that was no real surprise in that as you mention, Park Plaza was the superior redevelopment with some key high-end tenants that gave it the long term credibility.

A similar example: Home Depot and HQ in west Little Rock

Let me also add that I concur that the market could have supported two malls (even with similar tenants). Its the direct adjacency that I am referring to which spelled disaster. Malls depend on a local market area that draws people - and the further apart they are, the more likely that they will survive as they will serve a particular geographic area. If two malls have the same general tenants and target the same general demographic, then what is the differentiator which allows them to survive? It is location, and hence market area. In the case of Park Plaza and University Malls, there was no signficant differentiator (save Penny's as you mention).

Edited by Architect

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Aporkalypse - I generally concur with your comments. However, aside from the given fact that Simon abandoned all effort to remain competitive some time ago, I still support the position that ultimately, only one of those two malls were going to survive in the long run due to their adjacency. Again - sure there were decent tenants for a while - but that experiment can only last so long until someone calls uncle. University Mall called uncle first - but that was no real surprise in that as you mention, Park Plaza was the superior redevelopment with some key high-end tenants that gave it the long term credibility.

A similar example: Home Depot and HQ in west Little Rock

Let me also add that I concur that the market could have supported two malls (even with similar tenants). Its the direct adjacency that I am referring to which spelled disaster. Malls depend on a local market area that draws people - and the further apart they are, the more likely that they will survive as they will serve a particular geographic area. If two malls have the same general tenants and target the same general demographic, then what is the differentiator which allows them to survive? It is location, and hence market area. In the case of Park Plaza and University Malls, there was no signficant differentiator (save Penny's as you mention).

I see your point and I generally agree with it. As a matter of fact, I remember almost all of my family members including my Dad making the same statement. University could've persisted with superior anchors. The man was right in saying that Montgomery Ward and Osco's leaving hurt. That mall was always more of a traditional "anchor" mall.

HQ went bankrupt as a chain I thought. I think West LR could easily support a Lowe's in addition to that Home Depot and the central part of the city needs one or the other. At the very least I'm surprised Lowe's hasn't looked for a site out on Hwy 10. I've never seen a busier home improvement store than the West LR Home Depot.

I was up in our old 'hood this weekend. Homes up on the top on the river side are getting very pricy. I found one for $725k and another for $900k for pretty average homes. I think we'll start seeing teardowns before long.

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I see your point and I generally agree with it. As a matter of fact, I remember almost all of my family members including my Dad making the same statement. University could've persisted with superior anchors. The man was right in saying that Montgomery Ward and Osco's leaving hurt. That mall was always more of a traditional "anchor" mall.

HQ went bankrupt as a chain I thought. I think West LR could easily support a Lowe's in addition to that Home Depot and the central part of the city needs one or the other. At the very least I'm surprised Lowe's hasn't looked for a site out on Hwy 10. I've never seen a busier home improvement store than the West LR Home Depot.

I was up in our old 'hood this weekend. Homes up on the top on the river side are getting very pricy. I found one for $725k and another for $900k for pretty average homes. I think we'll start seeing teardowns before long.

Yes, I believe you are right about the HQ issue now that I think about it....

And yes, a mid-level, big-box development on the University site to house Lowes, Target, etc. would be a welcome entry into the mid-town area as all of those things are at least 10 miles out on the periphery. I'm not saying that that type of develpment would be my first choice from a planning and aesthetic standpoint, but I think it would be the most likely to be successful. A mixed-use development with mid-rise residential over retail would be ideal, but I don't think the market would support it in this area of town. Much of that market demand is being met downtown, and the LR market is not yet hot enough or expensive enough to force that type of development further out - though it may be getting there as you stated! (My house in Hillcrest has increased in value by over 40% in 5 years).

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I always thought the downfall of University Mall had a great deal to do with its location. The only entrance it has from Markham is to the back of the Mall. If it had frontage on Markham it would have made a world of difference. Some years ago I read that the reason retail never developed on the eastside of Main St. in downtown LR was it was on the wrong side of the street. With University Mall being behind the Markham side developments it was out of sight out of mind. Maybe retail is not the best use for the property.

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I see your point and I generally agree with it. As a matter of fact, I remember almost all of my family members including my Dad making the same statement. University could've persisted with superior anchors. The man was right in saying that Montgomery Ward and Osco's leaving hurt. That mall was always more of a traditional "anchor" mall.

HQ went bankrupt as a chain I thought. I think West LR could easily support a Lowe's in addition to that Home Depot and the central part of the city needs one or the other. At the very least I'm surprised Lowe's hasn't looked for a site out on Hwy 10. I've never seen a busier home improvement store than the West LR Home Depot.

I was up in our old 'hood this weekend. Homes up on the top on the river side are getting very pricy. I found one for $725k and another for $900k for pretty average homes. I think we'll start seeing teardowns before long.

I have heard that Lowes is looking to build on Hwy 10 near the walmart supercenter. I have also heard that Chili's is looking to be in that same development.

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I have heard that Lowes is looking to build on Hwy 10 near the walmart supercenter. I have also heard that Chili's is looking to be in that same development.

I had also heard Chili's was going to build out on Hwy 10. Glad to hear that about Lowe's. I'd like to see another store on South University or 12 street somewhere. If you live in the midtown neighborhoods its tough to get to a home improvement store.

St Vincent's announced a $40 million renovation project and the cornerstone will be a new ER and entrance facing University (essentially facing University Mall). In addition to the ER new critical care units and operating rooms will be added.

St Vincent's expansion

UAMS is completely rebuilding their hospital. Children's is currently finishing up a major addition. St Vincent's is renovating and expanding and Baptist has some plans that will be announced in coming months as well.

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The Midtowne Center received blacktop today. Some of the store fronts have glass. Others still have visqueen. Perhaps one of the picture-takers could make a visit to the site and a subsequent image post to this forum?

I also saw the old power poles adjacent to the development and along University being plucked from the ground. Their removal makes this little stretch look much nicer. I believe the plans for widening University include burying utilities. If this happens, it would greatly reduce the eye clutter in the area.

It is good to hear that St. Vincent has plans to participate in the continued economic development of Midtown. A little while back, I wrote down the link to this forum and gave it to one of the architects working for St. Vincent. I am not sure he ever made his way onto this site.

There are still several shoes waiting to drop for Midtown...

University Mall

Sears site

War Memorial Park/LR Zoo/Ray Winder Field

Burrow's redevelop of Brandon House into offices.

A little further south...

LR City/UALR development of the University District.

Simon Properties and the LRSD are the two biggest obsticles to the economic growth in Midtown. Simon's role in the University Mall is obvious. The LRSD role is more secondary, but it cannot be denied. Brady Elementary and Hall High disuade some families from living in Midtown (west of University and East of Resevoir Road). Parents (myself included) with children in public school have a tricky time negotiating their kids into better schools.

Imagine what property values could be if Hall we on par with Central and Brady on par with Jefferson, Dunbar, or Forest Park.

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The Midtowne Center received blacktop today. Some of the store fronts have glass. Others still have visqueen. Perhaps one of the picture-takers could make a visit to the site and a subsequent image post to this forum?

I also saw the old power poles adjacent to the development and along University being plucked from the ground. Their removal makes this little stretch look much nicer. I believe the plans for widening University include burying utilities. If this happens, it would greatly reduce the eye clutter in the area.

It is good to hear that St. Vincent has plans to participate in the continued economic development of Midtown. A little while back, I wrote down the link to this forum and gave it to one of the architects working for St. Vincent. I am not sure he ever made his way onto this site.

There are still several shoes waiting to drop for Midtown...

University Mall

Sears site

War Memorial Park/LR Zoo/Ray Winder Field

Burrow's redevelop of Brandon House into offices.

A little further south...

LR City/UALR development of the University District.

Simon Properties and the LRSD are the two biggest obsticles to the economic growth in Midtown. Simon's role in the University Mall is obvious. The LRSD role is more secondary, but it cannot be denied. Brady Elementary and Hall High disuade some families from living in Midtown (west of University and East of Resevoir Road). Parents (myself included) with children in public school have a tricky time negotiating their kids into better schools.

Imagine what property values could be if Hall we on par with Central and Brady on par with Jefferson, Dunbar, or Forest Park.

I agree that burying the utilities will help the look of the area a TON. I think the other midtown neighborhoods, Hillcrest and the Heights, have the luxury of sending their kids to Central do they not? Do Leawood and Tanglewood also feed into Brady and Hall? Those are great midtown neighborhoods.

I thought the LRSD reference was to the TIF issue. I am not against a TIF for midtown but it would have to be for something really special.

I have a lot of friends that went to Hall that are professionals now, though I guess things may have changed over the last decade.

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I see your point and I generally agree with it. As a matter of fact, I remember almost all of my family members including my Dad making the same statement. University could've persisted with superior anchors. The man was right in saying that Montgomery Ward and Osco's leaving hurt. That mall was always more of a traditional "anchor" mall.

HQ went bankrupt as a chain I thought. I think West LR could easily support a Lowe's in addition to that Home Depot and the central part of the city needs one or the other. At the very least I'm surprised Lowe's hasn't looked for a site out on Hwy 10. I've never seen a busier home improvement store than the West LR Home Depot.

I was up in our old 'hood this weekend. Homes up on the top on the river side are getting very pricy. I found one for $725k and another for $900k for pretty average homes. I think we'll start seeing teardowns before long.

Agreed. The two malls being across the street from one another didn't cause University's demise. Simons neglect of it did. If they would have replaced Wards and Osco's with strong tenants, it still could be a viable mall today.

I'm also suprised Lowe's hasn't built a store Little Little Rock. I think they looked at the corner of Bowman and Kanis at one time for a store but something happened with the city that they decided not to build there. I would love to see a home improvement store in midtown, but I doubt one will be built. Not much new construction going on and they probably think that area doesn't have the economic base to have many people doing a lot of home improvement.

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Agreed. The two malls being across the street from one another didn't cause University's demise. Simons neglect of it did. If they would have replaced Wards and Osco's with strong tenants, it still could be a viable mall today.

I'm also suprised Lowe's hasn't built a store Little Little Rock. I think they looked at the corner of Bowman and Kanis at one time for a store but something happened with the city that they decided not to build there. I would love to see a home improvement store in midtown, but I doubt one will be built. Not much new construction going on and they probably think that area doesn't have the economic base to have many people doing a lot of home improvement.

Okay guys, I say this with complete humility as I respect your opinions, but why do you think Simon abandoned their efforts in the first place? They lost the dominant position at that location to the competition across the street. It happened a long time ago, and their solution was to build ANOTHER mall at a DIFFERENT location. If adjacency and/or competition wasn't the problem, then they would have invested the $120M at that location rather than the Shackelford property. They then intentionally ran it into the ground to justify their new mall....

Okay, enough about that. You guys feel free to go on believing yourselves, okay??!! :)

It would be nice for a home improvement store to locate in midtown. I was in Tulsa about 11 years ago at a conference, and went to a reception on top of the Mid-Continent Tower (a very nice art deco, terra cotta high-rise constructed in the late '80's). Anyway, there is an outdoor patio on the 36th floor, and I look down and what do I see....A HOME DEPOT!!! Right downtown! I literally thought my eyes were deceiving me. They put it in the middle of a block behind a restored art deco facade which formed the street edge. Very cool. I'm curious how successful its been.

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Okay guys, I say this with complete humility as I respect your opinions, but why do you think Simon abandoned their efforts in the first place? They lost the dominant position at that location to the competition across the street. It happened a long time ago, and their solution was to build ANOTHER mall at a DIFFERENT location. If adjacency and/or competition wasn't the problem, then they would have invested the $120M at that location rather than the Shackelford property. They then intentionally ran it into the ground to justify their new mall....

Okay, enough about that. You guys feel free to go on believing yourselves, okay??!! :)

It would be nice for a home improvement store to locate in midtown. I was in Tulsa about 11 years ago at a conference, and went to a reception on top of the Mid-Continent Tower (a very nice art deco, terra cotta high-rise constructed in the late '80's). Anyway, there is an outdoor patio on the 36th floor, and I look down and what do I see....A HOME DEPOT!!! Right downtown! I literally thought my eyes were deceiving me. They put it in the middle of a block behind a restored art deco facade which formed the street edge. Very cool. I'm curious how successful its been.

My assumptions are based on the fact that Simon seems to do the same thing in other places as well. Once the mall's built they do little or nothing to maintain it. THe Richardson Square Mall in North Dallas comes to mind - it's actually quite a bit nicer than University. They essentially abandoned to build a new mall in North Garland a few miles away and instead of closing it, they're leaving it to rot and keeping th doors open.

You know, when's the last time they renovated McCain? That mall's not going anywhere any time soon.

There's a Home Depot near downtown KC as well but it is seemed pretty dead.

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Okay guys, I say this with complete humility as I respect your opinions, but why do you think Simon abandoned their efforts in the first place? They lost the dominant position at that location to the competition across the street. It happened a long time ago, and their solution was to build ANOTHER mall at a DIFFERENT location. If adjacency and/or competition wasn't the problem, then they would have invested the $120M at that location rather than the Shackelford property. They then intentionally ran it into the ground to justify their new mall....

Okay, enough about that. You guys feel free to go on believing yourselves, okay??!! :)

It would be nice for a home improvement store to locate in midtown. I was in Tulsa about 11 years ago at a conference, and went to a reception on top of the Mid-Continent Tower (a very nice art deco, terra cotta high-rise constructed in the late '80's). Anyway, there is an outdoor patio on the 36th floor, and I look down and what do I see....A HOME DEPOT!!! Right downtown! I literally thought my eyes were deceiving me. They put it in the middle of a block behind a restored art deco facade which formed the street edge. Very cool. I'm curious how successful its been.

Simon wanted to build in west Little Rock because that's where the population and the money was going. The midtown area is still a viable shopping destination as Park Plaza's $12.5 million remodel and Midtowne Little Rock shows. Some are moving from west Little Rock to the Heights and Hillcrest areas and downtown, so midtown is closer to them. There are other middle and upper middle class neighborhoods in the area as well. Leawood and University Park come to mind. So the population and money is there. Simon did nothing to cultivate it.

Another thing that is going to improve the area is St. Vincent's recent annoucement of its $40 million expansion. The renderings that are on Arkansasbusiness.com show how the hospital is going to look facing University. St. Vincents is going to showcase itself by facing University instead of turning its back to it as it has done now.

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Simon wanted to build in west Little Rock because that's where the population and the money was going. The midtown area is still a viable shopping destination as Park Plaza's $12.5 million remodel and Midtowne Little Rock shows. Some are moving from west Little Rock to the Heights and Hillcrest areas and downtown, so midtown is closer to them. There are other middle and upper middle class neighborhoods in the area as well. Leawood and University Park come to mind. So the population and money is there. Simon did nothing to cultivate it.

Another thing that is going to improve the area is St. Vincent's recent annoucement of its $40 million expansion. The renderings that are on Arkansasbusiness.com show how the hospital is going to look facing University. St. Vincents is going to showcase itself by facing University instead of turning its back to it as it has done now.

No doubt the $40M investment by St. Vincent's bodes well for the viability of the hospital and midtown. That is not an insignificant investment. Of course, down the street at UAMS, there is over $200M worth of construction underway. I believe it is the largest ever in the state (in terms of total dollars).

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I was driving down university today and saw that they were removing furniture from Bennigans. The sign on the street and the sign on the building was also removed. Does anybody know anything about this?

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I was driving down university today and saw that they were removing furniture from Bennigans. The sign on the street and the sign on the building was also removed. Does anybody know anything about this?

Good riddance to Bennigans in Little Rock...My last two trips there were extreme disasters and I vowed after the last visit to never go back.

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