September 4-10, 2017
Commercial Real Estate around Central Arkansas
By Jeff Yates
May God bless everyone that Harvey hurt. Tens of thousands of homes and thousands of businesses were decimated by the unyielding deluge. Help where you can, how you can, when you can. Also, know that any construction project you had that is not already nearly finished or is contracted with a fixed cost, just got more expensive. The demand for all sorts of construction labor, especially finish trades, just grew exponentially. There will be thousands of finish trades people needed, to repair all that Harvey flooded. Just a few of the Little Rock projects yet to start include the Bank of the Ozarks campus at The Ranch, 240 apartment units in the Estates at Chenal, a couple of senior living complexes in Chenal Valley, a handful of hotels, and of course the redevelopment of the former Sears location on S. University. (No Max, Costco hasn’t announced that as a location.)
The sadness and increased demand for repairs in Texas and Louisiana that Harvey delivered has a happy by-product for the NIMBYs on the west side of Little Rock, and other places. There will be fewer trades-people around to help build houses. That includes all the houses planned on the latest preliminary plat in Chenal Valley. That sizeable residential encroachment on all who thought they would be the last family to move west stretches all the way from Rahling Road to LaMarche Dr. Completion of it will require the removal of hundreds, maybe thousands of trees. That’s sure to cause great consternation to all those who are sure Harry Potter or the Fairy Godmother magicked their home into a cozy neighborhood.
Don’t misunderstand me. Responsible development is imperative. However, responsible development does not mean no development. There’s been quite a shriek-fest over a proposed multi-unit housing project called The Hamilton. A few people have asked me for thoughts and even advice on this project. It is right next to DJ’s Donuts where my daughter and I stop every Friday morning. My thoughts are that it would be hard to find a more appropriate place for apartments. The tract is effectively a land-locked triangle. The south side is the backside of commercial properties (some of which are a little dog-eared). The north and east side is a creek. The west side is a new-ish residential subdivision with no cross-access to The Hamilton. In fact, the only proposed access is at the traffic-signal-controlled intersection of AR Hwy. 10 (7-lanes at the intersection) and Taylor Loop Road (6-lanes at the intersection). I understand the concerns over multi-unit housing. In fact, I’ve complained myself about certain poorly managed apartment complexes, and have been told that those properties have been included in the City of Little Rock’s Criminal Abatement Program. You know what though, there’s also a whole lot of poorly maintained, crime-infested, single-family properties around. And, prohibiting multi-unit housing simply because it is multi-unit housing is wrong-headed. If as much time was spent worrying about the public-school children (children, not schools) and public safety in Little Rock, as is spent worrying about the possibility that people might want to live in “our” neighborhood, we’d all have a whole lot less to worry about. This may peeve some readers. Well, take heed then. Do something besides whine and complain! Grab your hammer and come help build homes with Habitat for Humanity. Get in your car, drive over to the elementary school and read to some kids. Call Chief Buckner and ask him what you can do to help LRPD recruit about 150 new officers. I’ll tell you one thing most of you can do. Stop! Stop when the traffic signal is red. Red doesn’t mean that the third car behind you is supposed to stop. It means YOU are supposed to stop. And use that blinky-thing that signals directional changes…
So yeah, this column is a little long on preachy and a little short on commercial real estate. Thing is, there’s been only a handful of interesting deals shared with me lately. And on those, I’ve been asked not to share yet. There are many transactions and projects in the pipeline. There are schools planned, churches proposed and hotels anticipated. There are even a few sales to report. Pretty much everything notable has graced this column earlier this year though. So, y’all need to get busy and lease, buy, sell, trade, demolish & build some stuff. OK?
Tips and suggestions, well most of them anyway, are appreciated. Hope you found something interesting in the column this month. Check back again next month for the things that didn’t get included here this time and that pop up between now and then.