Little Rock Voters Approve Plan for Robinson Center Renovation


The $68.6 million project to renovate Robinson Center Music Hall wil increase the building's size to 138,000 SF from 133,500 SF.
The $68.6 million project to renovate Robinson Center Music Hall wil increase the building's size to 138,000 SF from 133,500 SF.
An artist's view of the new performance hall, which will be lowered to overtake the existing conference rooms. Architects said the redesign will improve acoustics, improve visibility and create a more intimate atmosphere.
An artist's view of the new performance hall, which will be lowered to overtake the existing conference rooms. Architects said the redesign will improve acoustics, improve visibility and create a more intimate atmosphere.
A cutaway of plans for the new auditorium, including a new box office, lobby levels and a lowered performance space.
A cutaway of plans for the new auditorium, including a new box office, lobby levels and a lowered performance space.
An artist's view of the new performance hall lobby.
An artist's view of the new performance hall lobby.
An artist's rendering of the inside of the grand balloon on the center's north side, overlooking the Arkansas River and the new river bridge.
An artist's rendering of the inside of the grand balloon on the center's north side, overlooking the Arkansas River and the new river bridge.
A look at how crowds would circulate through the renovated space, compared to the building's current entrances and exits.
A look at how crowds would circulate through the renovated space, compared to the building's current entrances and exits.
A view of the new conference center portion of the renovation, which includes a grand ballroom overlooking the Arkansas River.
A view of the new conference center portion of the renovation, which includes a grand ballroom overlooking the Arkansas River.

Voters in Little Rock on Tuesday approved a plan to use a portion of the city's existing 2 percent restaurant and hotel tax to repay bonds for a renovation of Robinson Center Music Hall.

Amid light turnout, the vote totals were:

  • 5,183 or 74 percent FOR
  • 1,800 or 26 percent AGAINST

The plan asked voters to dedicate a portion of the restaurant and hotel tax to repay bonds to pay for up to $73.5 million in renovationsThe music hall in downtown Little Rock was built in 1939 and hasn't had any major renovations.

The plan calls for a reconfiguration of the performance space, creating two tiers of balcony seats. The theater seats about 2,600 people now. The renovations would drop the seating capacity to 2,120.

The restaurant and hotel tax had been used for the construction of the Statehouse Convention Center, and those bonds are about to be retired.

Some in the city's restaurant industry were against the plan. Loca Luna/Red Door owner Mark Abernathy said there were "smarter and fairer" ways to fund the project.