The Little Rock Technology Park is expected to begin filling up as soon as it opens, which Director Brent Birch thinks could happen by November.
Birch told tech park board members Wednesday that he continues to field inquiries and receive interest in tech park space, which eventually will take up a little more than 3 acres on and around Main Street in downtown Little Rock.
Originally, tech park officials expected the first phase to be complete by early 2017. Work will begin on the top floor of the six-story building at 417 Main and work its way down.
The board is expected to close on property acquisitions for Phase 1 of the $100 million project by Feb. 1. Phase 1 includes the properties at 415-421 Main and 114 East Capitol.
The park’s official first tenants, once the property closes, will be the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, which occupies the building at 421 Main, and five attorneys who leased space from Little Rock lawyer Richard Mays, who is selling the 415 Main property to the park.
Birch told board members that the park would honor the leases of the Mays tenants, who will be offered the choice to stay until their leases are up or terminate the leases early without penalty. Renovation of the property will begin early this year and work around the existing tenants, he said.
Those tenants include:
- Kenya Gordon Davenport Esq., Davenport Law, PLLC
- Sylvester Smith, The Firm, PLLC
- Rickey Hicks, P.A.
- Maximillan Sprinkle, Sprinkle Firm
- Arkansas Mississippi Minority Supplier Development Council (moving with Mays in February).
Birch said he would develop a set of guidelines for firms offering startup-related services, such as IP lawyers and accountants, that want to lease space in the park. He said he didn’t know yet if any of the lawyers remaining for now at 415 Main offered such services.
“The trend for tech parks nationally is for them to have tenants such as lawyers and accountants who are devoted to working with startups,” he said.
In other business, the board approved a lease agreement with the Department of Higher Education. As previously reported, the lease is $755,448.40 per year with an additional $3,995 per month for 85 parking spaces on Main. That comes out to $62,954.03 per calendar month. The term of the lease runs through Jan. 31, 2022.
Also, Birch was given the authority to negotiate with accounting firm BKD for financial services as well as look into potential parking lot operators for the park.