The Little Rock Technology Park Board Authority got the chance to visualize the fruits of its labor on Wednesday, seeing new architectural renderings of the park's first phase for the first time.
Work on Phase 1 of the overall $100 million project is expected to begin early next year and be complete in late 2016 or early in 2017.
Chad Young of Wittenberg Deloney & Davidson Architects presented the new renderings (see slideshow above). The first phase of the park will include the renovation of 42,000-SF of park-acquired property at 415 and 417 Main that will serve as the park's anchor and hub. East Harding Construction of Little Rock is the contractor.
The renderings show:
- A main entrance at 417 Main with a seamless glass front window;
- A main lobby with a coffee bar open to the public;
- The front entrance space and more space on the second floor of 417 converted for public day use and after-hours events;
- The entire space as mostly open air, mixed-use and flexible, available for established companies, startups and even entrepreneurs;
- The east and west walls made of glass and the fourth floor of 417 including north side windows looking out over the rooftop of 415;
- The 415 property will be converted into an open air, two-story meeting space.
The park will have different lease rates for clients depending on the type of space they require. The board also said it will consider converting the 415 rooftop into an outdoor terrace for events.
The rooftop terrace idea was a popular one with board members, but tech park director Brent Birch told them the budget allowed for either that or the coffee bar. The terrace could be included in Phase 2, but Young said the next phase could also include the construction of a new building in the lot adjacent to 415 on the north which could "step over" the three-story 415 property.
The building at 415 Main was the last piece of property acquisition for Phase 1, and it wasn't easy to secure. Amid the threat of lawsuits, the board ultimately agreed on a price of $1.037 million for the property with owner Richard Mays.
Board treasurer Dickson Flake, who had negotiated with Mays on the property, said Mays had not yet signed the contract to complete the sale but was expected to "by the end of the week or early next week."
In other business:
- The board approved an amendment to the lease of its temporary space at 107 East Markham that stipulates it must notify its landlord by July 31 of its intent to terminate the lease or keep the space. The amendment also reduces the termination fee from $45,716.40 to $38,100.
- The board approved a conflict of waiver request from Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC, which represents the board and several of the banks involved in the board's $17.6 million financing of Phase 1.
- The board approved changing its name to the Little Rock Technology Park Board Authority, the name under which it has been operating. The 2007 legislation enabling the creation of the board lists the name as Central Arkansas Technology Park Board Authority.
- Birch said the co-working space available to startups in the 107 space continues to be consistently full and that a marketing piece geared for investors and tenants should be ready for review by the board in the next week.