THE PLOT: Where Shackelford Crossing will bloom.

Warm weather and the arrival of the month of March bring thoughts of spring — new growth, things sprouting from the ground, etc. …

So it’s the perfect time for an update on what’s springing from the earth in West Little Rock, or at least what the developers tell us will be: three new shopping centers, in various stages of planning and/or construction.


First up, the furthest along. That’s Shackleford Crossing, being built at I-430 and Shackleford Road.

The project’s anchors will be a Wal-Mart Supercenter and JC Penney, according to Clary Development’s Sean Glancy. Perhaps of more interest, though, are the other confirmed tenants:


Babies R Us, the offshoot of Toys R Us just for the wee ones;

Dunlaps, a department store owned by the same company that owns MM Cohn;


Rack Room Shoes.

All in all, the development will have eight restaurants and 30-40 shops. The retail space will total 585,000 square feet, not counting the single outparcel buildings that will house restaurants, Glancy said. Everything but the Wal-Mart is scheduled to open in October.


The Promenade at Chenal appears to be moving ahead again finally, after a long hiatus. This is the 340,000-square-foot upscale “lifestyle center” announced several years ago for the corner of Chenal Parkway and Rahling Road. Originally Dillard’s was slated to anchor the development, but that’s no longer in the plans. According to the RED Development web site, the project’s projected completion date is sometime in the spring of 2008. No word on possible tenants yet, but they’ll be smaller stores — more like Midtowne than Shackleford Crossing.

Finally, the Gateway Towne Center, the least certain of the three projects. It’s planned for the northwest corner of the intersection of I-30 and I-430, once the proposed site of the never-built Otter Creek Mall. This looks to be the most likely location for a West Little Rock Dillard’s store; it was apparently listed on a site plan as the project’s anchor, but site plans are far from final. The project’s plans show an open-air design with multiple buildings, part lifestyle center and part power center, with a total of about 750,000 square feet in the first phase.


Other stuff:

• Stop by Ten Thousand Villages (305 President Clinton Ave.) and pick up a card that’ll get you 15 percent off your next purchase. If you’re in the mood for spring, check out the colorful hammock chairs ($120) handwoven in Guatemala; fire-engine red elephant planters from Nepal ($19-$28); a bag of jellybeans ($5.75) from the Women’s Bean Project, a job-readiness program for impoverished women in Colorado; or a tiny knitted Easter bunny ornament ($4.50).


Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions is having a winter sale, with select merchandise marked down 70 percent.

Lane Bryant has opened a new location in Lakewood Village in North Little Rock.

J. Oliver’s Fine Jewelry is still going out of business — current markdowns are up to 70 percent. So no more using “But I can’t afford a ring right now” as a cop-out, guys.


While Hollywood has been reluctant to glorify the deeds of real-life serial killers on film, the excellent new movie “Zodiac” is a fine exception. With great performances and a nail-biting race to find the truth about the killer, it’s one of the best thrillers in many a year.

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