Owner Files to Rezone Summit Mall Site

by George Waldon  on Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2004 12:00 am  

A rezoning application for the would-be Summit Mall site was filed on Monday

with the Little Rock Planning Commission.

The request is for 62.4 acres to be zoned for general commercial development and 35 acres to be zoned for general office development. Both zonings require site plan approval before any construction is allowed.

A new project name has been affixed to the property at the southwest corner of Interstate 430 and Shackleford Road: Shackleford Crossings. Flake & Kelley Commercial of Little Rock is marketing the property.

Leonard Boen, who has bought and developed property at Interstate 430 and Col. Glenn Road, is the mover behind Shackleford Crossings LLC.

Boen intends to buy the Summit property if the rezoning is successful. No other plans are available beyond the rezoning request, scheduled for review at the July 29 meeting of the planning commission.

The land is owned by a joint venture between Simon Property Group Inc. of Indianapolis and Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock.

The 1.1 million-SF Summit Mall proposal languished in the planning stages and became embroiled in a long-running legal battle.

In December 2003, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a 2001 Pulaski Circuit Court decision that stopped the city from issuing a building permit for the $100 million project and remanded the case.

The decision also indicated support for the opponents' effort to put the matter to a referendum vote.

Circuit Court Judge Mackie Pierce had indicated the city's action was legislative and not administrative, making it fair game for a referendum vote.

The court also ruled that Pierce erred in determining that opponents of the mall objected to the city board's actions in a timely manner.

The court determined the objection to a lapse in the approval process should've occurred years ago when Simon Property Group missed a deadline.

Since the project's inception, the city granted multiple extensions for the submission of a final plan and the retention of the necessary zoning for the project.

With the higher court's opinion, the stage was set for a special election to determine whether the project would move forward. Instead, Summit proponents declared the regional mall project dead.

The 97.4-acre site was put together back in 1988. The original Summit Mall project called for an $80 million, 925,000-SF mall.

James W. Wilson Jr. of Montgomery, Ala., assembled the land in three transactions totaling $11 million.

The sellers were Hall-Phillips Trust, led by James S. Hall and A. Dan Phillips, 32.4 acres for $4.4 million; I-430 Partnership, composed of the Catherine Jane Howe Trust and KVKST, a general partnership led by Doug Jackson, Gus Vratsinas and Tom Stanton, 30 acres for $3.9 million; and Jo Ann Yancey, 35 acres for $2.7 million.

Wilson forfeited the property in lieu of foreclosure in July 1991 as he weathered financial reversals in his development business.

Three years later, an affiliate of Chemical Bank of New York sold the land to the Simon Property investment group for $6.3 million ($1.50 per SF).

More on Summit Mall
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•?Jeff Hankins Publisher's Note: A dead Summit
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