The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning on a continuing pitch by a developer to get the piece of city land in front of the Doubletree Hotel that’s now occupied by a fountain and open bricked plaza to develop a chain restaurant, Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
City officials are apparently cool to turning over the plaza to a restaurant, with a multi-million-dollar redo of the neighboring Robinson Center underway and a string of hotel properties that support the city with lodging tax receipts probably not receptive to the idea of a competitor getting plunked down into prime city-owned real estate. Not to mention a couple of prime restaurants farther east on Clinton Avenue, with major investments, who might not appreciate the city allowing a competitor to grab potential customers closer to hotel doors.
What do you think?
I tend to side with those who think Ruth’s Chris has plenty of plots of land downtown it could buy for a restaurant and that a high-volume chain restaurant across the alley from the Old Statehouse wouldn’t be an aesthetic improvement to that stretch of Markham Street. It’s similar to my feelings when developers were pushing a convenience store three blocks away on Broadway, just up from the historic county courthouse. But that’s me. What do you think?