KATV-TV, Channel 7, plans to move its offices, newsroom and studios out of downtown Little Rock to the Riverdale area along the Arkansas River early next year.
Mark Rose, general manager of the ABC affiliate now at Main and Fourth Streets, has selected a 22,000-SF two story building at 10 Turtle Creek Lane as the station's new home, pending city approval of a zoning variance to allow a transmission tower.
The building, built in 2007, is the former Arkansas Student Loan Guarantee Foundation site, and if the Little Rock Planning Commission approves the tower — a meeting on the topic is scheduled next week — the station expects to move in by early 2020. KATV's plans were first reported in Talk Business & Politics, one of the station's content partners.
"This has been a long time in the making," Rose told Talk Business, adding that he hoped to close a deal for the property in April. "We are committed to central Arkansas and this facility will help us continue our level of excellence to the community."
KATV is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group of Hunt Park, Maryland.
Talk Business reported that the current KATV location will become a part of the Little Rock Technology Park, which is on the same block of Main. But that prospect is far from certain, Tech Park Director Brent Birch told Arkansas Business.
"To my knowledge, no conversations have taken place with Sinclair or their representatives in over a year, so I wouldn't make that assumption," Birch said in an email. "There may come a time the Little Rock Technology Park Authority would revisit that property but our immediate focus for the foreseeable future is continuing the success of Phase 1 and making progress on the Phase 2 development next door."
The Tech Park plans to build Phase II of its headquarters on the empty lot between its current location at 417 Main and KATV's building at Main and Fourth.
KATV News Director Nick Genty referred questions about the move to Rose, but said he's "seriously excited" for his staff, which "deserves the best, and we are going to be proud of our new home." Rose didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.