Former Shoppes at North Hills Site Sold to First Pentecostal Church

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

Did you hear that a prominent North Little Rock congregation has expanded its holdings south of Interstate 40?

First Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ now owns about 90 acres across from its 1401 Calvary Road campus after four transactions.

We understand the church intends to develop a school campus with a supporting sports complex on the property at the southwest corner of North Hills Boulevard and I-40.

First Pentecostal operates Calvary Academy, which has a members-only enrollment of about 240 students in grades PK-12 at the church.

The new development would include facilities for the church’s Truth College at The Rock, a theology school with an enrollment of about 80 students.

We’re told the congregation may develop a new sanctuary complex as well to replace its current landlocked location.

Two parcels in the assembly process involved a conventional exchange of land for money, more than $1 million all told.

The sellers were HDJ Realty LLC, led by Hal Matthews, $638,000 for about 15.5 acres at the southwest corner of I-40 and North Hills, and General Properties Inc., led by James P. Matthews, $420,000 for about 10 acres adjoining the HDJ parcel to the south.

The other two deals involved donations from Norman and Shirley Clifton, about 37.5 acres adjoining the General Properties land to the west, and Doda Construction, led by David Bruning and Doug Meyer, about 27 acres adjoining the HDJ parcel to the west.

The Cliftons bought their property, which includes Mulligan’s Golf Range, for $1.7 million in late December. Thecouple purchased it from Terraforma LLC, another Bruning-Meyer entity.

This puzzle of contiguous property lies along the west side of North Hills Boulevard between the I-40 frontage Road on the north and East 19th Street on the south.

This land assembled by the church was once envisioned for The Shoppes at North Hills, a proposed 866,000-SF, $130 million retail center.

The ill-fated project, advocated by Belz-Burrow Development Group of Jonesboro and Hocker & Associates Inc. of Owensboro, Ky., became mired in years of litigation-fueled controversy.

Environmentalists battled the developers over wetland issues, and other opponents joined the fray in a separate dispute over the proposed tax increment financing sought to subsidize construction. On the drawing board since 2003, the project was to be anchored by a 120,000-SF Bass Pro Shop. The outdoor sporting goods chain shifted its gaze southward last year, paying $3 million for a 29.3-acre site in Little Rock’s Gateway Town Center development.

Mitigation of wetland loss and flood storage, highway access and road improvements and other issues will no doubt be revisited.



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