The unknown changes wrought by a future improvement of Interstate 30 have downtown Little Rock players concerned.
“The risk out in front of us is what will they do to I-30?” said Phil Brandon of Rock Town Distillery. “Whatever they do, it’s going to take them awhile to build it. That’s got me worried.”
The Hastings family, one of the largest property owners in east Little Rock, added to its holdings last year with a 6.5-acre tract that borders East Sixth Street.
“We’re sitting on it and waiting to see what’s going to happen with Interstate 30 and the redo of the [Arkansas River] bridge and exactly how the ramps and connections are going to work,” said Cathy Hastings Owen.
Originally assembled for a new headquarters campus by Little Rock’s World Services for the Blind Inc., the nonprofit sold the property for $1.5 million in March last year.
The mostly cleared property is between College Street on the east, Eighth Street on the south, Collins Street on the west and Sixth Street on the north.
“Traditionally, we’ve owned and managed office and office-warehouse property,” said Stan Hastings. “But everything changes with time. We’re open to the entertainment-type venues. If there is someone who came along with an interesting idea, we’d talk with them.”
Downtown property owners east and west of I-30 are waiting to see how Arkansas Highway Transportation Department plans could reshape the area and development patterns.
“Whatever they do with the interstate is ultimately going to tell the story of what happens on that side of the interstate,” said Stan Hastings of east side redevelopments. “We see that area becoming an extension of the River Market, but if they cut us off, that’s going to be a huge, huge hindrance.”
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