A developer is planning space for three new retailers and new upscale loft apartments in the 700 block of Main Street in downtown North Little Rock.
7th Street LLC, led by John Chandler, purchased four buildings in the area and plans to start renovations on three of them by Jan. 1. The fourth is under contract to be sold, Chandler told Arkansas Business on Tuesday.
"We’ve been doing some projects over there and we’ve had really good success with attracting and retaining tenants," Chandler said. "This is part of the last old Main Street, and we are optimistic about that area and the momentum."
Newmark Grubb Arkansas, the leasing agency for the project, announced the renovation plans last week.
Chandler said they've not decided what retailers will be occupy the buildings, which are about 10,000 SF each. He said the plan is for "soft retail," but they're "certainly open to all comers."
Chandler emphasized that the apartments will be different from what's already available in the area.
"These are not your everyday apartments — they will be very one-of-a-kind kind of spaces and sort of the last of the old Main Street historic-type apartments," Chandler said. "This is not new construction. They’ll all have little yards, covered parking. We’re tying to create different, unusual upscale living down there."
Although there are a handful of development projects going on in downtown Little Rock, Chandler said there's a need in Argenta for housing and retail.
"I think there are a lot of people in all different sort of circumstances who are interested in having space downtown in urban, walkable neighborhoods," he said.
Chandler aims for the renovations to maintain the area's historic feel. "The building exteriors will be brought back to original historical facades," he said.
Chandler wants to finish the project by mid-2016.
This isn't Chandler's first Argenta project. He also leads 314 Main LLC, which recently completed a renovation of the 9,000 SF former Cornerstone building at 314-316 Main St.. Chandler's company purchased the building in December for $625,000 from a company led by Brenda Kent.
Newmark Grubb said the building is now 100 percent leased with Skinny J's Restaurant on the first floor and the headquarters of online retailer Bourbon & Boots on the second floor.