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North Little Rock City Council members agreed Monday night to a pair of real estate deals that involve buying property for a new Levy fire station and selling a set of city-owned parcels to a North Little Rock business.

The city will purchase 2.2 acres of land at 3919 and 3921 Pike Ave. from owner Bobby Brant for $350,000 for a new Levy fire station. The price is below the $390,000 appraisal amount from last May, according to the legislation.

North Little Rock will also sell 11 parcels in the vicinity of North Buckeye Street and East Fifth Street for $1.1 million to Bruce Oakley Inc., a distribution and transportation company at 3700 Lincoln Ave., to allow that company to expand. The city land appraised for $1.4 million in July, but several buildings on the property will require $600,000 to $900,000 in repairs, Mayor Joe Smith said.

Council members approved the sale to Oakley, 8-0. The council voted 7-1 on the fire station property purchase. Council Member Steve Baxter voted no, saying after the meeting that he preferred that the new site be closer to the current Fire Station No. 6, 3500 Camp Robinson Road.

"I think they could have picked a better location," Baxter said.

Replacing the 55-year-old Levy station was part of the 2017 special election in which city voters approved a 1 percent city sales-tax package. An evaluation of all city fire stations in 2017 found the highest number of deficiencies at the Levy station, built in 1964. Problems included cracked ceiling beams and crumbling concrete blocks in its walls.

The fire station projects are from the one-half percent portion of the new tax that is to end after five years. The tax revenue is to provide $10 million over five years for either new or renovated fire stations. The tax's collection began Jan. 1, 2018.

A new police and courts building and street and drainage improvements are the other part of the projected $40 million total of the one-half percent tax revenue after five years. The other one-half percent of the sales tax is permanent. Its revenue goes into the city's general fund budget.

An exact cost of the fire station hasn't been determined.

North Little Rock has 160 certified firefighters at 11 fire stations. The Levy station is the city's busiest, Fire Chief Gerald Tucker has said, responding to about 2,900 calls in 2018.

The property being purchased from the city by Bruce Oakley Inc. contains several warehouses, including some in disrepair, Smith said. Selling the land, Smith said, takes the burden of managing the properties away from the city.

Oakley has been renting some of the warehouses for storage. The city also uses a warehouse for storage and will be able to continue that use for four or five months, according to the agreement.

The city will place the $1.1 million from the sale into its general fund, Smith has said.

Metro on 02/12/2019

Print Headline: 2 real estate deals in NLR gain City Council's approval


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