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Moses Tucker's Vision for Downtown Little Rock

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As the major developer of downtown Little Rock development Moses Tucker has plans to develop over 1000 housing units in the area over the next decade. Their major projects so far are the Arkansas Capital Commerce Center, First Security Center and soon to be finished 300 3rd. The River Market Place is their next project scheduled to begin in May. Other projects down the line include the old Arkla Plaza site. This past week it was reported they have purchased a nearly half acre parking lot located at the NE corner of Cumberland and Forth. This is located to the south of 300 3rd.

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These projects are nice, but I really wish tere were some catalyzing event in Little Rock to pick up the pace of development. Little Rock's downtown doesn't seem to be growing at a faster pace than that of other cities.

But everything helps.

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These projects are nice, but I really wish tere were some catalyzing event in Little Rock to pick up the pace of development. Little Rock's downtown doesn't seem to be growing at a faster pace than that of other cities.

But everything helps.

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You're right.

I think I've been trapped in my bubble here in St. Louis for a while. Metrolink, major-league teams, dense urban environment, has distorted my view.

The growth in Little Rock has been great, but it still has a ways to go to reach the urban ideal.

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You're right.

I think I've been trapped in my bubble here in St. Louis for a while. Metrolink, major-league teams, dense urban environment, has distorted my view.

The growth in Little Rock has been great, but it still has a ways to go to reach the urban ideal.

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You're right.

I think I've been trapped in my bubble here in St. Louis for a while. Metrolink, major-league teams, dense urban environment, has distorted my view.

The growth in Little Rock has been great, but it still has a ways to go to reach the urban ideal.

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Interesting, I've never been terribly impressed with downtown St Louis for a city its size. In fact just as much seems to be going on in Memphis, a much smaller city. I would say the same of my current home in Dallas, though much more is going on here than St Louis. On any given night the Landing's no more active than the River Market, usually less so. Of course, I've had the luxury of traveling a lot of places.

What are Little Rock's traditional peers? Probably Jackson and Shreveport. LR is light years beyond both of those cities in downtown redevelopment, though Shreveport's casinos and the Lousiana Boardwalk are helping it catch up. Getting right to it, though, LR has seen considerably more of a downtown buildup than many larger cities in the region like Tulsa and Birmingham. All of these cities would love to have a local developer putting up 17 and 20-story condo towers.

There were some catalytic events in all of this. First was the River Market itself, second was Alltel Arena. The most prominent by far was the Clinton Library. Now Dickey-Stephens is adding something. Still, the event you spoke of WAS the Clinton Library.

It would be nice for a new catalyst to emerge, for a major company to locate its HQs downtown or something of that ilk. However, most of the growth is going to continue to be piece by piece. Ther aren't going to be any new major civic projects anytime soon, the best we could hope for would be a new/revamped Riverfront Ampitheatre and that would have a modest effect. If you look at all of the projects on the short-term horizon things are going to continue in the next 5 years much like the last 5.

Keep in mind that when I graduated high school in 1993, all of what is now the River Market district consisted of abandoned and often partially collapsed warehouses looking much like East St Louis.

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These projects are nice, but I really wish tere were some catalyzing event in Little Rock to pick up the pace of development. Little Rock's downtown doesn't seem to be growing at a faster pace than that of other cities.

But everything helps.

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As the major developer of downtown Little Rock development Moses Tucker has plans to develop over 1000 housing units in the area over the next decade. Their major projects so far are the Arkansas Capital Commerce Center, First Security Center and soon to be finished 300 3rd. The River Market Place is their next project scheduled to begin in May. Other projects down the line include the old Arkla Plaza site. This past week it was reported they have purchased a nearly half acre parking lot located at the NE corner of Cumberland and Forth. This is located to the south of 300 3rd.

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A possibly quite negative catalyzing event is on the horizon for greater LR. If Alltel sells to a larger telecom firm (as reported in today's press) and the typical outflow of jobs follows, it could have a very chilling effect on the LR economy for years to come.

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How can you can compare St. Louis to Little Rock. St. Louis is a much larger metro than Little Rock. That being the case there probably has been as much development in Little Rock as it has been in St. Louis. You talked about Metrolink and the new ballpark for the Cards. There has been redevelopment of older buildings into condos and new condos built. The same has been going on in Little Rock. A new hotel was built in downtown St. Louis, which is seriously under performing. There has been $50-60 million in new hotels and redevelopment of existing hotels in downtown Little Rock. Then as others have said the Clinton Library ($165 million by itself), Heifer International's new HQ, Dickey Stephens Park River Rail and a long list of other ongoing projects are changing the dynamic of downtown Little Rock

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I never said anything about them being on the same playing level. Obviously they're not. Re-read what I wrote: "I think I've been trapped in my bubble here in St. Louis for a while."

More development than St. Louis in Little Rock? I highly doubt it. My campus alone is building more parking decks/ buildings than all the Little Rock universities combined. All those multi-story-condo projects that we brag about on the Little Rock forum seem to be regular occurence in St. Louis.

That said, I have no doubt that per capita the growth in Little Rock is larger.

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I didn't say that Little Rock had more development, but as much development as downtown St. Louis. Let's not argue about which city has had more development in its downtown. I have relatives in St. Louis and have been there many times. I enjoyed it most on my last visit because I actually got out and explored a lot of the downtown and surrounding area. I know that there are big development plans on the drawing board for St. Louis including Ballpark Village. I hope they come to fruition and add to downtown St. Louis.

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johnny, WashU isn't in downtown St Louis. It's not even in the city of St Louis.

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WU is in the city of St. Louis--hence its full name and shipping address.

I suppose you're right about the city's core downtown--I haven't ventured there enough. Delmar loop--whatever it's urban classification relative to the main downtown--is bustling for the most part, with vendors and occasionally street performers.

I wasn't using WU as an example to show it's a "bigger deal"; I was using its construction projects as evidence of my bubble.

Funny you mention the area around Barnes Jewish. That was the area of one of the times I went downtown, so I had a fairly positive impression. (Commute is a hassle without a car.)

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I like the new ballpark but it's important to note it didn't add much to downtown that wasn't there - it just replaced the existing ballpark. The former TWA Dome was a much bigger development. Still, it's a very good thing it didn't move west.

johnny, WashU isn't in downtown St Louis. It's not even in the city of St Louis. No doubt WashU is a much bigger deal than any school in central AR. Even SLU is. Nobody's debating that.

St Louis' city core has had MAJOR issues. It has a host of beautiful old buildings but more than its fair share of deteriorating neighborhoods. It's been the textbook city in many ways for inner city neglect and white flight. There are some minor victories in downtown St Louis but efforts like the Landing seemed halfhearted, the community doesn't really get behind them the way similar sized metro areas do. The downtown and adjacent areas have issues with abandoned buildings. Most people don't consider the area safe for walking.

The city of St Louis' population peaked in 1950 at 856,796. Since then its population has plummeted - its currently 342,000. That's actually less than its population in 1870, just after the Civil War. This is actually probably the nation's most dramatic example of population decline. It's really a city of suburbs - older ones like Kirkwood with some personality, fully developed affluent ones like Clayton and newer sprawling ones like Maryland Heights.

Now, in all fairness St Louis is completely surrounded by suburbs on one side and the Mississippi on the other, so the city can't grow. Still, compare it to other core cities like Atlanta, Miami, Washington DC. Chicago, etc are thriving despite the same handicaps and no city, even Detroit, is declining at the same pace at St Louis.

I have a friend that works at SLU and drives from Maryland Heights every day. The traffic is a nightmare, it's an hour commute. I never have quite understood that but everyone I know in St Louis does the same thing. I know anothe guy that used to live in O' Fallon, IL and did the same thing. Part of the problem is a shortage of suitable places for young professionals to live in the city of St Louis. There's not much downtown for a city that size, there's a nice cluster over by Barnes-Jewish. Still, most of the shopping and entertainment is in the suburbs.

I've always been interested in this phenomenon, here's a good essay on the topic:

St Louis

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The report at the link is pretty old. Actually, downtown St. Louis is the place to live for young people now. All those beutiful old buildings in the old garment district took off like a rocket and St. Louis now has a backlog of about $5 billion in new construction pending for downtown, mosty converting old buildings to condos and apartments. This has driven square footage rates up, and is leading to a number of new tower developments - primarily Ballpark Village where condos from towers will look right down into the ballpark. The new $1 Billion Casino and Condo Entertainment next to Lacledes Landing will finish this year. The Bottle District nearby has a plan but building has not started yet. A new condo tower was announce on Washington Street downtown near the cool City Museum. Downtown is considered very safe to walk and new restaurants grocery stores etc. seem to get announced daily. It is unlikely the city can continue at this pace, so everyone is waiting to see if population influx will continue at the rate required to fill all the new residences. So come back in about 5 years and update your report.

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Little Rock may not be on the same playing field as a lot of cities, but as someone has already said in this thread...most people are very pleasantly surprised with Little Rock. What goes on at street level is more important in a city's growth than high-rise development. But, most people visiting for the first time or just passing through are going to notice the interstates and skyline first. I think when most people drive across the I-30 bridge into Little Rock for the first time, as they cross over the Arkansas River, they are awed at what they see. The river is beautiful, the skyline is more impressive than they would've ever guessed. They see the River Market district below, with more being built behind it. Little Rock truly has an appearance of a much larger city. All interstates in the LR/NLR area are 6 lanes now. Development is happening everywhere you look. More high-rises are being planned. I don't care if it doesn't look as dense as other cities...Little Rock has a lot going on and has a very urban feel/appearance. Just driving around makes me very proud of what's going on here. Little Rock impresses me much more than MANY cities of equal and MANY cities of larger size. I look forward to the metro to continue to grow and become even better. Hopefully with the help of all of the great developers here, that will come sooner than later. There's no doubt about it...Little Rock is definitely on the map now.

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Little Rock may not be on the same playing field as a lot of cities, but as someone has already said in this thread...most people are very pleasantly surprised with Little Rock. What goes on at street level is more important in a city's growth than high-rise development. But, most people visiting for the first time or just passing through are going to notice the interstates and skyline first. I think when most people drive across the I-30 bridge into Little Rock for the first time, as they cross over the Arkansas River, they are awed at what they see. The river is beautiful, the skyline is more impressive than they would've ever guessed. They see the River Market district below, with more being built behind it. Little Rock truly has an appearance of a much larger city. All interstates in the LR/NLR area are 6 lanes now. Development is happening everywhere you look. More high-rises are being planned. I don't care if it doesn't look as dense as other cities...Little Rock has a lot going on and has a very urban feel/appearance. Just driving around makes me very proud of what's going on here. Little Rock impresses me much more than MANY cities of equal and MANY cities of larger size. I look forward to the metro to continue to grow and become even better. Hopefully with the help of all of the great developers here, that will come sooner than later. There's no doubt about it...Little Rock is definitely on the map now.

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Great news, but it's still more than a decade behind Memphis in downtown revival, let alone a true downtown-centered city like a Chicago.

That said, you weren't the one downing what's going in LR and using a bad example to cite it. It's not personal, I wouldn't have brought up St Louis if someone else hadn't.

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I wasn't "downing Little Rock's development."

It all started with that all-so polarizing sentence: "Little Rock's downtown doesn't seem to be growing at a faster pace than that of other cities."

Then when I was correctly rebuffed that Little Rock is indeed growing faster than other cities of its size, I agreed, and stated why I probably made such a distorted statement :

"You're right.

I think I've been trapped in my bubble here in St. Louis for a while. Metrolink, major-league teams, dense urban environment, has distorted my view."

How dare I cite a city I live in...and just to malevolently "down Little Rock's development" at that.

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Fair enough, I just thought St Louis was a legitimately terrible example, though I understand it's what you have experience with. If you had said Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach, I would've emphatically agreed with you.

How many high rise condo buildings do you know of that are going up in downtown St Louis right now? That was my only point. I didn't want to dig at St Louis but when someone else made the comparison, I could only point out what a bad one it was.

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The truth is I don't keep up with urban development in St. Louis as much as I do in Arkansas.

That said, to use that as a debating point ("How many high rise condo buildings do you know of that are going up in downtown St Louis right now?") is kind of weak. It assumes you have knowledge of the downtown St. Louis scene (in addition to the Little Rock scene), which I highly doubt.

Do you actually know there are less downtown condo projects in St. Louis than in Little Rock?

So, I decided to do a quick search on St. Louis projects. Here: http://www.urbanstlouis.com/urbanstl/viewtopic.php?t=115

http://www.urbanstlouis.com/urbanstl/viewtopic.php?t=24

In downtown St. Louis, it seems there are quite a bunch more projects going on than in Little Rock. Is it more per capita? I doubt it...

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Here is a recent example (yesterday) of the kind of press St. Louis is getting on downtown activity. It would be nice if they could skip the 1981 "Escape from New York" references - where Union Station was used in the movie just prior to its complete renovation in 1982. Can't have everything.

Boston Globe Article on St. Louis Eateries

I think people from the indistinguishable tall square boxes downtowns only measure a city by that criteria -- the taller and squarer the better. In St. Louis, we want downtown to be dominated by the graceful Gateway Arch Sculputure, and there is a height limit that no structure shall be higher than the Arch (although there is talk that it may be relaxed soon). Several buildings are within a few inches of being taller, but none have dared cross the line.

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As the major developer of downtown Little Rock development Moses Tucker has plans to develop over 1000 housing units in the area over the next decade. Their major projects so far are the Arkansas Capital Commerce Center, First Security Center and soon to be finished 300 3rd. The River Market Place is their next project scheduled to begin in May. Other projects down the line include the old Arkla Plaza site. This past week it was reported they have purchased a nearly half acre parking lot located at the NE corner of Cumberland and Forth. This is located to the south of 300 3rd.

p1000117pj5.jpg

p1000121xu0.jpg

p1000124wc4.jpg

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