CALS Pays $235,000 for Former River Market Alleyway at Arcade Building

by George Waldon  on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 12:00 am  

The red lines mark the properties that now make up the western and southern boundaries of the Arcade Building project.

Central Arkansas Library System paid $235,000 in February for two slivers of land along the western and southern edges of the Arcade Building site — land that the sellers had gotten from the city of Little Rock for free just two months earlier.

Here’s how that worked:

The two, 10-foot-by-140-foot bits of land were part of alleys controlled for decades by the city. At the request of Jimmy Moses, the city abandoned the alley right-of-ways through an ordinance passed by the Little Rock Board of Directors on Dec. 4.

Ownership of the property reverted to the adjoining private landowner: Clinton-Commerce LLC of which Moses is a member. The limited liability company owns the land beneath the Arcade Building.

“We were willing buyers,” CALS Executive Director Bobby Roberts said of the purchase.

And at $84 per SF, Clinton-Commerce was a willing seller.

Roberts indicated that the library system needed to own the two, 1,400-SF strips of land in connection with its ground-floor, 325-seat theater development inside the Arcade Building. Roberts said the purchase was made with two things in mind.

“The first was so that the property would be under our exclusive control, so we could provide security for people going to the theater,” he said. “We felt like we could not enforce our rules in the alley unless the library owned all of it.

“Second, on the off chance that we need to expand either the theater or the east side of the ASI, we now control the property.”

Clinton-Commerce bought the bulk of the building site, which was a parking lot, for $1.5 million in January 2009 from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Inc., led by Walter Hussman Jr.

The lone exception was a 750-SF piece owned by the city. The property housed a police kiosk at 4521 President Clinton Ave.

City officials agreed to trade ownership of the kiosk site to Clinton-Commerce in exchange for $150,000 ($200 per SF) toward the construction of a new police substation across the street.



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