Little Rock Tech Park Board Votes to End Lease at Markham Street

Little Rock Tech Park Board Votes to End Lease at Markham Street

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board voted Wednesday to pay a $38,100 fee to terminate its lease and move out of its temporary space at 107 E. Markham St. by Feb. 28.

Four of its seven members — chairman Kevin Zaffaroni, Dickson Flake, C.J. Duvall and newly appointed John Burgess — attended the monthly meeting at the Little Rock Regional Chamber. Duvall listened in by phone.

The move comes as Phase I construction at 415 and 417 Main Street on the park's permanent home is set to wrap up early next year. Executive Director Brent Birch said the park is on target to move into its Main Street offices by early January. 

The 107 E. Markham space costs $12,780 a month, which includes $8,968 in rent, $1,567 in operational expense and $2,250 for utilities, he said.

Birch recommended ending the lease rather than stay in the building through July 31, 2019 and sublease it. He said he had spoken to a few interested in subleasing, but they declined when they heard the rental rate.

If the board hadn’t opted out of the lease by July 31, the rent would have increased to $9,143 in August, $9,329 next year and $9,515 in 2018, Birch said.

Flake said he was hopeful the property owner would waive the $38,100 fee if another tenant moves in to replace the Tech Park in a similar arrangement. 

The temporary space is also home to the Venture Center, the Venture Center's 12-week VC FinTech Accelerator, Merger Match, Corporate Insight Strategy, Jack Desert, Clay Simmons, iDatafy, Noble Impact and Unite Private Networks.

In other business, the board chose Little Rock startup Broadband Development Group as a back-up to internet provider Ritter Communications of Jonesboro. BDG's service is called Hyperleap. The board approved a contract with Ritter in May.