Update: Tech Park, Richard Mays Settle on Price

Update: Tech Park, Richard Mays Settle on Price
415 S. Main St. in Little Rock. (Pulaski County Assessor)

The Little Rock Technology Park Board Authority and Little Rock lawyer Richard Mays agreed Tuesaday night on a price for Mays' downtown property at 415 Main.

The board will pay Mays $1.037 million for the 10,000-SF property, with both sides agreeing to drop law suits — an eminent domain lawsuit against Mays and a lawsuit challenging the board's authority to use eminent domain. The board met late Tuesday afternoon and voted to extend the offer, which Mays accepted that night. 

The board filed the eminent domain suit on Monday. Mays' property is the desired anchor for the planned $100 million tech park and the board says the $24 million Phase 1 of the project can't proceed without it. 

At its special Tuesday meeting, board members determined it was better to raise its offer rather than see the issue through in court. Board attorneys estimated that route would cost the board at least $100,000 in legal fees and take up to two years to reach a resolution.

Mays filed his own lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court last week, challenging the board's authority to claim eminent domain and raising his asking price for the property at 415 Main St. in Little Rock to $1.2 million, up from an appraised value of $845,000, which the board had agreed to pay.

The board had given Mays a deadline of Friday to accept the offer. Instead, Mays opted to take the issue to court. 

On Monday, the board sued Mays' 415 Main Group LLC for eminent domain, claiming it was authorized to do so under Ark. Code Ann. § 14-144-204(a)(11) and (15).

More: See the board's eminent domain declaration, its declaration of taking and related exhibits.

The park wants Mays' three-story, 10,000-SF property to serve as the anchor for the $24 million Phase 1 of the park. In the lawsuit, the board said the property would be used for "office and support facilities, auxiliary facilities for the Tech Park, or both."

It said the statute empowers it to "acquire, equip, construct, maintain, and operate research and related types of facilities, including education, training, office and support facilities, located at or near a research park for the purpose of securing and developing new businesses with a research orientation;…"

The lawsuit was filed by board attorneys Byron Freeland and John Keeling Baker of Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC of Little Rock.

Simmons First National Bank was named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit because it holds a mortgage on the property.

The park also specified the $845,000 amount from Mays' own appraisal as just compensation. The board's original appraisal came in at $670,000 but it had agreed to meet Mays' appraisal before his suit was filed

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