New Retail Centers Dot WLR

The commercial development race in west Little Rock is heating up as the first projects of a group valued at $300 million move toward completion.

But the biggest of the proposals remained poised to start construction in 2005.

The Ashley Co. of North Little Rock continues playing its development cards close to the vest regarding The Village at Brodie Creek, touted as a $60 million, open-air development.

The planned 500,000-SF retail center is set for an 87.6-acre site at the northwest corner of Interstate 430 and Col. Glenn Road.

Early work on the Col. Glenn Road entrance to the property is in motion and a western entrance from Bowman Road is on the drawing boards. Some indicate construction could start in earnest on the location by February.

Named tenants to date include J.C. Penney Co. of Plano, Texas; Goody's Family Clothing Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn.; and The Dunlap Co. of Fort Worth, Texas.

Dunlap Co. operates four Arkansas stores under the M.M. Cohn name in Little Rock, North Little Rock, El Dorado and Searcy.

Near the Village site, Glenn Ridge Crossings is in the early stages of development south of the Rave Motion Pictures project at 18 Col. Glenn Plaza Drive.

Plans call for the 30-acre site to be divided into 8-10 lots for sale with a 12-acre parcel to be retained and developed.

"We're putting in utilities to it now," said Steven Hockersmith, a commercial broker with PDC Cos. of Little Rock. "Announcements are expected in January with development starting as early as in March."

The would-be site of the Summit Mall is undergoing restructuring to become Shackleford Crossing, with a combined 1 million SF of retail and office space. The planned commercial development at the southwest corner of Interstate 430 and Shackleford Road goes before the Little Rock City Board on Nov. 23.

The land use is split between 62 acres for general commercial development, 20 acres for general office development and 15 acres commercial/ office.

Hank Kelley, a partner in Little Rock's Flake & Kelley Commercial realty firm, said the project could include a medical component as well. The retail space will be on the north end of the property with office space on the south.

"As we get the zoning perfected and solidified, retailers are going to be attracted to it again," Kelley said.

He describes Shackleford Crossing as a joint venture between Little Rock's Clary Development Corp. and Little Rock businessman Leonard Boen.

The new ownership group is expected to acquire the property early next year. The 97-acre site is held by a joint venture between Simon Property Group Inc. of Indianapolis and Dil-lard's Inc. of Little Rock.

Two incarnations of the Summit Mall proposal languished in the planning stages since 1988, with Simon's proposal eventually becoming em-broiled in a long-running legal battle.

Dillard's and Simon Property Group parted ways, and Dillard's allied with another project and developer.

RED Development LLC of Kansas City, Mo., has little news to report on its proposed 485,000-SF lifestyle center in west Little Rock. The Pro-menade at Chenal, designed in a French Gothic style, is described as a $75 million joint venture development with Dillard's.

The Little Rock department store chain, which intends to anchor the project with a two-story, 155,000-SF store, remains the only named tenant.

"We're not ready to announce any other tenants at this time," said Lee Ra Johnson, marketing and communications manager with RED Development. "We're still on target for a spring 2006 opening. We've had a lot of interest, and we're working on leasing."

The 48-acre Promenade site is planned for the southwest corner of Chenal Parkway and Rahling Road. Planned improvements include extending Rahling Road to the west of Chenal Parkway where it will intersect with La Grande Drive.

Earlier this year, RED officials indicated the land purchase from Deltic Timber Corp. of El Dorado would likely close by Dec. 31.

The location was the would-be home of another open-air lifestyle center — The Avenue Chenal, a 340,000-SF upscale retail space that never materialized. The land originally was optioned by Cousins Properties Inc. of Atlanta, which hoped to build with a 120,000-SF Parisian store as an anchor.

The Promenade project marks RED Development's first Arkansas effort as well as its first partnership with Dillard's.

Dillard's officials are noncommittal on what effect if any a new west Little Rock store would have on its flagship retailing operations at Park Plaza Mall.

A Parisian in Arkansas

The evaporation of The Avenue Chenal is not the end of Little Rock's Parisian dream, however. A 120,000-SF Parisian store is the only announced tenant for a 30-acre development called Pleasant Ridge Town Center, proposed by Little Rock's Schickel Development Co.

Plans for the $65 million project gained final approval from the Little Rock City Board on Nov. 9. But before the week was out, a group of Hasidic Jews filed suit alleging that city officials acted capriciously and arbitrarily in its decision.

The group owns neighboring land and claims the 300,000-SF retail project will adversely affect its property. It's unclear if the lawsuit will interrupt the development timetable.

Lou Schickel intends to start construction next year in time for an August 2006 opening. The city is requiring Schickel to obtain a building permit to develop most of the site before he will be allowed to make his requested 50-foot hillside cut on the property.

News at Ten

Farther west on Highway 10, The Centre at Ten is expected to open in July 2005. The $11.5 million development will have 113,000 SF under roof.

The 10.7-acre site at the southwest corner of Sam Peck Road and Highway 10 will contain a 60,000-SF office building, 40,000 SF of retail plus a restaurant and bank branch.

Hank Kelley, who is leading the projects' local investment group, hopes to begin unveiling the identities of tenants within 90 days.

"Several tenants are in the letter of intent stage," Kelley said. "Half the commercial and half the retail space is in play."

Other commercial projects in motion along Highway 10/Cantrell Road include the Bella Rosa Commer-cial Center, which is nearing completion.

The $2.7 million mixed-used development at 16101 Cantrell Road includes 30,000 SF of retail, 29,000 SF of warehouse and 24,000 SF of mini-storage space. It too is owned by a local investment group.

At the southeast corner of Chen-onceau Boulevard and Highway 10, construction of a 12,000-SF strip center is well under way. The 2.1-acre Chenal Corners development should be completed in February.

The only named tenant is NYPD Pizza, featuring a lineup dominated by New York-style pizza and deli items. Phase 2 construction of the project, owned by Little Rock's Karen Flake, is planned on an adjoining 1.2-acre outparcel.

Across from the new Wal-Mart Supercenter, a 22-acre site at the southwest corner of Chenal Parkway and Highway 10 is planned to become the Chenal Woods project.

The development is expected to include a 150,000-SF retail center plus construction of seven outparcels, four fronting Chenal and three on Highway 10.

Each outparcel will likely house a 4,000- to 7,000-SF building.

"We're looking to ground leases or build to suit," said J.C. Halsell of Little Rock's Flake Kelley Commercial. "We can't name any tenants right now. We've been primarily focused on our outparcels."