Debt, Liens & Lawsuits Entangle Downtown Little Rock Developer

by George Waldon  on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 12:00 am  

If Scott Reed is searching for a belated New Year's resolution, cleaning up financial clutter accumulated in Little Rock during 2011 represents a solid choice.

The man behind the 315 Main St. redevelopment also is in a legal wrangle with the project's lone tenant: Porter's Jazz Cafe.

Among the items in need of Reed's attention are two claims by unpaid construction vendors totaling $57,083 and 18 liens by the city of Little Rock for code enforcement cleanup totaling $8,302.

The outstanding bills for city-mandated cleanup of residential properties date from Feb. 3 to Dec. 12 and encompass 15 corrective actions involving mowing grass and trash removal. The other three liens are for demolition and related costs at 2305-2307 Rock St., boarding and securing 4405 W. 14th St. and graffiti removal at 2005 S. Monroe St.

Also on Reed's to-do list are delinquent property taxes totaling $6,894 on 30 residential properties and $5,537 on the Gus Blass Dry Goods Warehouse at 315 Main St. in downtown Little Rock. Reed indicated money troubles weren't the cause of the unpaid bills. Some of the debts are in dispute, but he didn't explain why undisputed ones remain outstanding.

The redeveloped Blass property, his most high-profile project to date, is home to Porter's Jazz Cafe. His plans for the long-vacant historic 35,000-SF building include 30 apartments that remain drawing-board dreams for now.

Reed and the owners of Porter's are entangled in a financial disagreement, one of three active lawsuits involving the Reed family's development activity in Little Rock.

The landlord-tenant tiff surfaced only five months after Porter's opened during the Labor Day weekend after construction delays prevented an Aug. 3 grand opening.

Reed's K Lofts LLC served an eviction notice on Dec. 27 to Porter's Jazz Cafe and its three partners, Augusta Farver Jr., Milton Shannon and Marcell Dean.

That was followed by a lawsuit against Porter's and its partners on Jan. 4 alleging unlawful detainer and breach of contract on its three-year lease.

According to the complaint, K Lofts is owed a total of $10,212 for monthly rent for December and January. Reed declined to comment on the Porter's litigation.

The investment trio behind Porter's couldn't be reached for comment: Farver, vice president of instruction at North Little Rock's Pulaski Technical College; Shannon, who helped

launch the Little Rock Copeland's Famous New Orleans Restaurant & Bar and a soon-to-open Copeland's in Texarkana; and Dean, a jazz pianist who owned Skyward Jazz Lounge in Texarkana.



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