A proposal to allow a Little Rock real estate company to market about 5 acres of city property in North Little Rock's downtown is moving forward with no specific plan known for the site.
The North Little Rock City Council approved, in a 7-1 vote Monday night, Mayor Joe Smith's proposal to authorize an exclusive listing agreement with Newmark Moses Tucker Partners real estate developers. Council member Linda Robinson voted against the proposal.
The listing will allow Newmark Moses Tucker to "plan, market and possibly develop" the city property that includes the City Services building, 120 Main St.; city attorney offices, 116 Main St.; and three employee parking lots. The listed price is $16 per square foot, which would make the total listing for 5 acres about $3.48 million.
"This is only to enter into an agreement with professionals to bring us a plan," Smith explained. "All we're doing is asking them to make something happen.
"We don't know what they'll come up with. We're not making any decision tonight except to put these guys to work."
Council member Maurice Taylor, who is also a real estate broker, said he talked Monday with Fletcher Hanson, a Newmark Moses Tucker partner, who provided "a better idea" about the company's "vision" for the property.
"I'm sure they have a plan already," Taylor said.
Smith had delayed voting on the proposal on Jan. 28 in order for the city attorney to adjust the contract to strengthen the city's position. The new agreement provided to council members Monday afternoon deletes references to the real estate company's ability to lease or rent the property and shortens the amount of time for the initial agreement to be in effect from 18 months to one year.
"We tweaked it a little bit to make it more fair to the city," City Attorney Amy Fields said.
Newmark Moses Tucker would be responsible for all costs for drawing up any plans and marketing of the property, according to the agreement. The city wouldn't be spending any money upfront, Smith said. Any plan for development would have to come back to the City Council for approval.
"We want to make things happen," Smith said of the proposal coming on the heels of other developments underway downtown. "We don't want to slow down."
If the entire property is sold, the city would need to relocate 83 city employees. City Services houses city departments for planning, finance, human resources and customer services, among others. North Little Rock bought the circa-1960s building in 1998 for $2.5 million.
When purchased, the City Services building created a "one-stop shop" for customers to pay electric, water and natural gas bills in one place. The building is also next to a Rock Region Metro bus stop and streetcar stop. The city has been downsizing its Utilities and Accounting Department in the building, stopping acceptance of Central Arkansas Water and CenterPoint gas bill payments Jan. 1.
The city has spent about $855,000 on repairs, additions and fitness facilities for employees in the City Services building in the past 18 years, according to city figures. The city attorney's office relocated from City Hall to its current location in June 2017. The city spent $99,536.99 for renovations, including a new roof and security features.
Metro on 02/12/2019
Print Headline: North Little Rock City Council allows marketing of land downtown