Terraforma LLC of Maumelle announced Friday that it has purchased, through Smarthouse Way LLC, 5.6 acres along the Arkansas River at the foot of the under-contruction Broadway Bridge from the city of North Little Rock for $2.6 million.
The company plans to use the land for a mixed-use entertainment district, which could include a hotel, offices, condos and restaurants along a boardwalk facing the Arkansas River, according to Doug Meyer, Terraforma's managing member.
Taggart Architects Inc. of North Little Rock has produced an initial design.
Meyer said views from the property of the Little Rock skyline are "amazing." He said the Broadway Bridge will be a "one-of-a-kind landmark" that adds to the overall effect.
Meyer said the next step for Terraforma is to market the property, listed with Newmark Grubb Arkansas of North Little Rock, to an anchor tenant seeking a building that will bear its name. He said there isn't a set timeline for development.
Meyer said the real estate development firm is taking its time to avoid any mistakes, working closely with the North Little Rock mayor and his assistant to make sure that, whatever is done with the property, it gets the city's seal of approval. He's heard that money from the sale may go toward the Argenta Plaza project.
"We're wanting to put together just the right deal … We're looking at it from the perspective of what's best for the overall site," Meyer said. "We kind of want to have a 24/7-type feel to it."
He added that two parties have expressed interest in being tenants but declined to disclose their names.
Todd Larson, executive director of the North Little Rock Economic Development Corporation, said Terraforma has a "fantastic plan" for the property.
"Our city government and the Economic Development Corporation look forward to helping make this vision a reality," he said.
The site, currently identified as the Argenta Waterfront District, was also a Brownfields site, which means it was remediated and given a clean bill of health, Meyer said. The firm bought out the contract between the city and the Brownfields program. Meyer said the property is not in a floodplain and is ready to be marketed and developed.
Terraforma also owns 300 and 301 Main St. in Little Rock. The company renovated 300 Main for its tenant, marketing firm CJRW.
Meyer said Terraforma has gravitated toward downtown revitalization. Meyer serves on the Metrocentre District and Downtown Little Rock Partnership boards, and his wife owns Bennett's Military Supply in downtown Little Rock.
J. Fletcher Hanson III, principal and executive managing member of Newmark Grubb, said the company is "excited to align with Terraforma" as the project's listing and advisory firm.