Interest in leasing space in the first Little Rock Technology Park building under construction in the 400 block of Main Street is a “comfortable amount” for this stage in the project, Authority board chair Kevin Zaffaroni said today at the board’s monthly meeting. He declined to say how many floors of the first building to open, at 417 Main St., that comfortable amount might include, since no leases are final.
The board hopes to complete the renovation of the six-story, 40,000-square-foot building at 417 Main by December and open for business in January 2017. The building will house offices and coworking spaces for technology startups and companies farther along.
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Renovation of a building at 415 Main St., which will connect with 417 Main, is taking longer than expected, thanks to engineering challenges with the north wall, which was not constructed to be an exterior wall. (The Center Theater once stood on the other side of the wall; there’s an empty lot there now.) The wall will need shoring up; board member Dickson Flake said it won’t be ready for leasing until the end of January, though if the board wanted to spend extra money, it’s possible it could be opened at the same time as 417.
The board also passed a resolution agreeing to sign a petition of dissolution for the Metrocentre Improvement District, which apparently several members of the district desire. The board became a member of the district when it bought several Stephens properties on Main Street. David Knight, Stephens Inc. executive vice president and general counsel, told the board that the district had served its purposed, paid off all bonds and property owners wanted to clear the tax liens, now totally $80,000, off their books (Stephens Inc. interests account for more than half).
Asked about rumors that the improvement district was interested in selling the Henry Moore sculpture “Large Standing Knife Edge” before dissolving, Knight said Warren Stephens had no interest in that and wanted it to go to the city. All assets of the district — the statue and the parking lot at Sixth and Main streets — will go to the city when the district is dissolved.