Retail Rebounds in Little Rock Market

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 8, 2011 12:00 am  

Signs of life return to the greater Little Rock retail scene as empty dtorefronts draw new tenants, such as such as the Apple Store set to open Aug. 20.

Rounding out the Promenade list is the officially unofficial Apple Store, set to open Aug. 20 in a 7,500-SF slot, and Kenneth Edwards Fine Jewelers, opening in a 3,500-SF location, its second Little Rock store.

"There's definitely some activity compared to this time  last year," said Mark Bingman, associate broker at Little Rock's Rector Phillips Morse Inc. "Everybody seems to be getting back into the game. This time last year, there just wasn't that much interest.

"Are we ricocheting and bouncing back? I don't know if I'd say that, but more players are looking for space."

The build-out of west Little Rock's Pleasant Ridge Town Center is nearing with the Aug. 16 opening of a 2,200-SF Chipotle Mexican Grill, the Denver chain with a health-conscious twist.

Lou Schickel, owner/developer of the 300,000-SF Pleasant Ridge project, said only one out-parcel remains at the 27-acre development. This 30,000-SF site is capable of supporting a 6,000-SF building.

"We're talking to people, but nothing is definite," Schickel said.

New Life for Older Space

Absorption of older, vacated retail space is picking up pace, too.

The former National Home Center project in west Little Rock is undergoing redevelopment as a Windstream data center.

Ross Dress for Less is filling space formerly occupied by PC Hardware at west Little Rock's Markham Square project at 9101 W. Markham St.

Wal-Mart is said to have a Neighborhood Market store in the works for the former Harvest Foods store in Riverdale, and the old M.M. Cohn space at North Little Rock's McCain Mall is undergoing a redevelopment as a 12-screen movie theater as part of a $5.5 million project.

"Large, big-box retail space keeps getting gobbled up, which is great," said Isaac Smith, principal at Colliers International in Little Rock.



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