Six architectural firms have responded to a Request for Qualifications for Phase 2 of the Little Rock Technology Park
, the construction of a six-story, 100,000-square-foot building on the empty lot between the park, at 417 Main St., and the KATV, Channel 7, building at 401 Main.
However, Tech Park Director Brent Birch
said in an email “there is no firm timeline" for the start of the project; "that would be a guess at this point” and dependent on the Tech Park's finances. “We would hope to have that building open for business within the next 5 years,” he said.
The new building will contain offices and wet and dry lab spaces. The park's board of directors had once contemplated buying the empty lot at the northeast corner of Third and Main streets, but “we’re not interested in that property anymore,” Birch said.
Responding to the RFQ were Polk Stanley Architects, Witsell Evans Rasco Architects/Planners, Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Architects, Looney Ricks Kiss, AMR Architects
and Cromwell Architects Engineers
The RFQ said the new building must include "interior connectivity" to the established Tech Park on the south, east over an alley to a future parking deck and north to 401 Main St. Birch said the requirement for a northern link to property on the north does not mean that the park is sure that it will purchase the KATV building, but that it was merely a possibility. That move, considered Phase 5, is "many years down the road so [it's] really hard to definitively say one way or the other," Birch said.
The RFQ says that the Phase 2 design could make the building the park's primary entrance. The selected firm will partner with Gaudreau Inc. of Baltimore, which has developed previous research and technology buildings and will review the Little Rock firm designs, “assist in reviewing project cost estimates,” and provide “engineering support.”
The Tech Park has 39 tenants, Birch said. New tenants include PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Arkansas
, a Pulaski County program that lets homeowners finance energy efficient
upgrades through property taxes; Broke Down South
, the film production company; and Agent Armor
, which Birch said works with real estate content marketing. Uday Akkaraju, CEO of 2017 FinTech accelerator graduate BOND.AI
, a firm that helps people meet financial goals, is moving his company from New York to the Tech Park in December, Birch said.