The Little Rock Technology Park will soon be debt free.
Members of its board voted at their regularly scheduled meeting late Wednesday to pay off the park’s last, $9.6 million phase one loan.
The loan is due on Jan. 31, and the payoff amount is approximately $2 million, according to Director Brent Birch.
The park will use the almost $2.7 million it received – taxpayer money generated by the city’s sales tax last year – to pay off the loan. Little Rock voters passed a half-cent sales tax back in 2011 to provide up to $22 million for the park’s development.
The tax expired in 2021 and has, so far, provided nearly $20.4 million to the tech park.
Birch also said tech park revenue had been used to resolve its debts; another phase one loan of $5.4 million was paid off in 2019.
Any excess funds from the recent disbursement could be used for a second phase of the park, and there will be another disbursement in March or April when sales tax revenue figures are finalized, Birch said. But he didn’t know yet how much the last disbursement would be.
John Burgess of Mainstream Technologies, chairman of the board, said at the meeting that paying off this loan shows the board has been a good steward of taxpayer money by doing what it said it would.
The loan was offered by a consortium of lenders led by Centennial Bank. Arvest, Bear State, Eagle Bank, First Arkansas, First Security, Malvern National, Relyance and Simmons were also part of that group.
Burgess added that paying off the loan would put the board in a great position to talk with lenders about funding for a second phase, which is still at a standstill after plans for it were first unveiled in 2019. The expansion may be housed in a nearby building that’s being leased by the state through April.
The board agreed to meet again in the next week or two to further discuss the second phase.