ERC Cos. Breaks Ground on Thrive Apartments in Argenta

ERC Cos. of Fort Smith and community leaders held a groundbreaking Monday for the developer's second Thrive apartments project in Arkansas. 

The apartments will be built at 501 North Magnolia St., behind the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock's Argenta Arts District.

The project consists of six brick buildings that will contain 164 units and ground-floor parking garages. 

ERC owner and CEO Rob Coleman declined to disclose a price tag on the project, telling Arkansas Business that the company is "still tallying up" how much it will invest. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported in March that it would cost $16 million.

Coleman said plans are for one or two buildings to be move-in ready by Memorial Day next year. Construction includes the addition of a new Fifth Street and a revamping of Fourth and Poplar streets. The project could wrap up in 13-14 months, Coleman said.

Coleman, Mayor Joe Smith and John Owens, president and CEO of the North Little Rock Chamber, spoke briefly at Monday's groundbreaking. Smith said city hall had been working with the developer for a year and a half.

"We've already jump-started downtown. This puts us over the edge. We're over the top now," he said. "We're going to break ground on our plaza probably right after the first of the year. We've got a three-story building we're 90 percent sure is going to happen on Main Street. It's breaking ground probably right after the first of the year."

"This project is kickstarting everything else, to put the icing on the cake," Smith said. 

Coleman said ERC was attracted to the area by the city's master plan, its people and the property's close proximity to the Innovation Hub. 

"I don't think, if anything, we're early. I think we are on time," Coleman said. "I think we are a lot on time. I think we are about to see what we call transformation in North Little Rock." 

This is the third Thrive development; the others are in Bentonville and Jenks, Oklahoma.

The Bentonville Thrive apartments opened in June 2015 as a mixed-use development with 64 residential units. They are located at the intersection of Southwest A and Southwest Fourth streets in the city's arts district, about two blocks off the downtown Bentonville square. 

"It's doing very well," Coleman said Monday.