Verizon last week sold its last parcels of Riverdale property acquired in the purchase of Alltel in 2009, including land currently used as a soccer field by the Arkansas United Soccer Club.
Fitzroy Riverdale LLC acquired the current soccer field, a little more than six acres, on March 2 for $2.825 million. It also acquired an adjacent 5.35 acres to the south on Riverside Drive on March 2 for $2.825 million.
The land apparently is to be developed by Huffman and Co. for an apartment project. I haven’t been able to reach Brandon Huffman, who incorporated the Fitzroy Riverdale LLC. His company has developments in several states, including The Fitzroy at Chenal and Fitzroy Promenade in west Little Rock, described as luxury apartment projects of around 300 units.
One of the parcels provides space for one of two soccer fields used by the soccer club. It had an agreement with Verizon to use those six acres as long as Verizon owned the property and said it hadn’t heard about the sale when I called this morning. It also has a field on the side of a parking lot to the north that was acquired by the Arkansas Commerce Department when it bought the former Verizon building across Riverfront Drive. That one field is not covered by this sale.
In a broader historical context, the transaction closes a major chapter of the book on Alltel, a rural telephone company that grew into a national cellular force from its Little Rock base. Verizon bought Alltel in 2009 for almost $6 billion and assumption of debt. Windstream, a 2006 spinoff of Alltel’s landline telephone service, remains headquartered in western Little Rock.
At the time of the Verizon purchase, Alltel had 3,000 employees in the Riverdale complex. They’re gone. The buildings are occupied by other tenants, including the state’s Arkansas Commerce Center. State employees were moved there from existing buildings after the state found itself stuck with a $25 million building it had bought for a business prospect, Raytheon, that didn’t pan out.
Verizon began hundreds of layoffs shortly after the purchase of Alltel in 2009. The closure of a call center in 2018 took hundreds of more workers out of Riverdale. Its Little Rock presence now is primarily retail stores.