Did you know the city of North Little Rock is hoping for a major makeover of the downtown Argenta district, a development that would include a hotel, condos, shops and restaurants?
Mayor Joe Smith said he’s close to announcing developers who will look over the area to see if it’s worthwhile to move forward with a mixed-use plan.
“So we’ve been working on that for about the last two months,” Smith said. The next step calls for Smith to put the finishing touches on a memorandum of understanding that the North Little Rock City Council will have to approve for the developers.
Smith said one developer is local and the other isn’t. “I can’t tell you who my choice is,” he said.
If the plan comes about, the developers and investor group would then conduct their due diligence to see if they want to go ahead and buy the city’s two buildings and three parking lots for about $3.5 million and turn the space into a retail hotspot. Smith expects the developers’ proposal in the middle of the summer.
“If it’s not going to be first class, we’re not going to do it,” Smith said.
The city contracted with Newmark Moses Tucker Partners last year to help determine what to do with the City Services Building at 120 Main St., the city attorney’s office at 116 Main St. and several city-owned parking lots in the area. He said the property sits in an opportunity zone, making it eligible for tax credits. And other tax credits could also be available.
“So we’re trying to put all those things together, along with the investor groups, to see if we can make this new mixed-use development happen,” Smith said.
He said his concept for the area developed more than a year ago when he attended a mayor’s conference in Plano, Texas. He stayed in Legacy West, which touts itself as “the largest mixed-use retail destination in North Texas featuring the best in shopping, dining and a world class Renaissance hotel,” according to its website.
“It was just kind of cool,” Smith said.