Negotiations for Tech Park Properties Continue

Little Rock tech park director Brent Birch told his board on Wednesday that negotiations for targeted park properties along Main Street in downtown Little Rock are continuing.

Birch said he is working with the city of Little Rock, one of four partners in the park, on a schedule of available funds to complete the purchase of the proposed properties.

Those properties include the west half-block of the 400 block of Main, the east half-block of the 400 block of Main, the west half-block of the 400 block of Scott, the parking lot at the northeast corner of Main and Fourth and the parking lot adjacent to the Junior League of Little Rock building on Scott.

Other partners in the park are the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Birch provided his updates from the park's temporary new home at 107 East Markham directly across from the Statehouse Convention Center. The space was used for the ARK Challenge startup accelerator from August through December, and Birch expects it to serve as the park's command central for a year or so until property on Main is acquired and adapted. 

Previously, Birch had worked from space donated by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. The new park space also will serve as home to the Arkansas Venture Center, which last month partnered with the board to lease office space within the property. Also, the park will lease workstations within the space to park tenants.

Birch recommended calling the space Little Rock Tech Park @ 107, or "107" for short.

"Prospective users don't need a long, descriptive name to know what's going on here, and including Little Rock Tech Park in the name gives us good branding and establishes this is our space," Birch said. 

Other items of note from Wednesday's meeting:

  • Birch said the park is waiting on news, due this month, about a federal Public Works grant for which it applied and would be used for construction.
  • Birch and the AVC officially moved into the space on Jan. 5. He said the AVC is bringing furniture with it, scheduled to be delivered this week, that will allow the space to hold 23 workstations.
  • Birch has three workstation tenants lined up and ready to move in once the furniture is delivered. They would take up five or six desks, he said. Birch said more prospective tenants are being lined up including a northwest Arkansas entity looking to open a Little Rock branch with interest in the park.
  • A marketing event for the park is being planned for the first or second quarter of 2015.

Earlier on Wednesday, the board announced the addition of Southern Bancorp CEO Darrin Williams to replace Bob Johnson, who stepped down last fall.