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What's new and coming soon to Main Street Little Rock

More restaurants, apartments and a church.

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TALL FLATS: Mulberry Flats at 315 Main St. are open above Brewski's.
  • TALL FLATS: Mulberry Flats at 315 Main St. are open above Brewski's.

At one time, it looked like the KLofts on Third Street were a dead letter. Same for the lofts planned for the 500 block of Main, and there was space on Sixth Street crying out for a more permanent occupant.

The pessimism was out of order, as it turned out. Here's an update of what's happening on the former ghost town main drag:

100 Block

The Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas has secured a lease on the building at 117 Main St., where it will offer noncredit classes to local business leaders. Brent Williams, associate dean for executive education and outreach at the Walton College, said he expects renovation of the property as a classroom to be complete within three months and that classes will start soon afterward. The school has reached out to local businesses to begin building custom courses to fit their needs, Williams said. There will also be some "open classes," he said, for non-business leaders. The building is owned by Warren Stephens' 117 Main Street LLC, which is leasing it to the Walton College for $1 a year.

300 Block

Bye, bye Club Level. You'll be missed by those looking for a techno- and hip-hop blaring nightclub with VIP lounge seats and pulsing lights. Now, the ground floor at 315 Main St. is occupied by Brewski's Pub & Grub, a sports bar with TVs galore, pool tables and (in line with the name) tasty pub grub.

On the upper floors, the bogged-down KLofts got a new owner, real tenants and a new name — Mulberry Flats. The 32-unit complex is 80 percent occupied, Rett Tucker of Moses Tucker Partners said. The Mulberry name derives from the original name for Third Street (Fourth was Walnut; Second Street was Cherry). All units are one-bedroom and rent for $800 a month and up. "It's mostly younger people and mostly single people" who are picking the Mulberry, Tucker said.

Perhaps they're attracted to what has become the Great White Way of restaurants on this block. Soul Fish Cafe (306 Main), Bruno's Little Italy (310 Main) and Samantha's Taproom and Wood Grill (322 Main) will soon be joined by Ira's and A.W. Lin's in the Rose Building at 307 Main, next door to Brewski's.

Chef Ira Mittleman said the new edition of Ira's — formerly in Park Hill — has suffered "all kinds of hang-ups" in getting the 1901 built structure ready for his restaurant. But Mittleman hopes to "open in about a month," he said. Ira's will seat 90, including 14 at the bar, and serve lunch and dinner. A.W. Lin's, which has a Chenal restaurant, will open "this year sometime," owner Jenny Liu said.

400 Block

The $24 million Little Rock Technology Park, located in two renovated buildings in the 400 block of Main Street, held its grand opening last April and its month-to-month occupancy — by startup firms — is now 94 percent. That success means the park's board of directors is looking at Phase II of the tech park, a new building that will be located adjacent on the north, on what is a vacant lot now. The WER architectural firm has been hired, and the board will issue an RFQ for a construction manager in April. Phase II will likely hold laboratory space for biomedical technology.

The park's 45 tenants include The Venture Center incubator, which hosts the 12-week VC FinTech Accelerator program to advance early startups in financial technology.

500 Block

The Chi Hotel Group LLC still owns the Boyle Building at the corner of Fifth and Main streets, but has not announced firm plans for its development, now that it has dropped the idea to build an Aloft Hotel there. Last year, however, the city agreed to a zoning change that would allow the group to place 96 apartments in the historic, 12-story office building.

Next door, the ground floor of the old M.M. Cohn Building has been fitted out with glass-walled offices for a tenant that David Robinson of Block 2 Commercial Real Estate declined to identify. At one time, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra thought it would occupy the space, but because of delays in construction and lawsuits against former owner/developer Scott Reed, that idea played out.

AVAILABLE SOON: The Main Street Lofts, in the 500 block of Main, where The Rep, Ballet Arkansas, Cranford and Co. and McLeod Fine Art give the area a cultural feel.
  • AVAILABLE SOON: The Main Street Lofts, in the 500 block of Main, where The Rep, Ballet Arkansas, Cranford and Co. and McLeod Fine Art give the area a cultural feel.

But here's good news: The Main Street Lofts, the long-planned apartments in the Arkansas Building at Sixth and Main — the Pfeifer Brothers Department Store starting at the turn of the 20th century — will be available for lease this summer. The 36 one- and two-bedroom units on the second and third floors of the property — directly above Cranford and Co., Ballet Arkansas, Matt McLeod Fine Art and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's Education Annex — include original hardwood floors, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and gas ranges. There's also underground parking, a small pool, a virtual golf simulator and a rooftop garden. Matt Foster did the construction; Moses Tucker Partners will handle the leasing.

Out-of-state investors Jake Spellmeyer and Bryan Pereboom purchased the property from Reed.

NEW HOME FOR NOODLES, RENTERS, TOO: Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. has opened at 613 Main S. in the old Arkansas Democrat Building. Apartments are on the second floor.
  • NEW HOME FOR NOODLES, RENTERS, TOO: Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. has opened at 613 Main S. in the old Arkansas Democrat Building. Apartments are on the second floor.

600 Block

Though there has been street construction in front of Three Fold Noodle and Dumpling Co. practically since it opened at 613 Main St. in September 2017, the beloved Chinese restaurant has done gangbusters business. The restaurant, previously located at 215 Center St., increased its seating capacity by 50 percent, from 80 to 120, and in turn increased revenue at least by 50 percent, according to Rachelle Branca, Three Fold's director of marketing. The restaurant also sped up service, added breakfast, a salad and soup noodle bowl option, and beef noodle soups to the other noodle, dumpling and bun options folks seemingly can't get enough of.

Three Fold is the ground floor tenant in the Charles Thompson-designed Arkansas Democrat building, which housed the newspaper from 1916 until the 1930s. Upstairs, Moses Tucker Partners has leased all eight of the Arkansas Democrat Lofts, which range from 800 to 1,500 square-feet.

Speaking of that street construction, the $1.072 million revamp of the 600 and 700 blocks of Main is scheduled to be completed by August, weather permitting, said Caran Curry, grants coordinator for the city of Little Rock. The project is Phase II of the Main Street Water Quality Demonstration Project, a federal grant-funded redesign of the street matched by city dollars. Phase I, which began in late 2013 and finished September 2015, updated the streetscape from the 100 to 500 blocks with sidewalks that bulge into the street to "calm" traffic and porous pavement for rain gardens to filter water.

THE DONAGHEY BUILDING: The 92-year-old office building will be made into apartments, developer LRMU says.
  • THE DONAGHEY BUILDING: The 92-year-old office building will be made into apartments, developer LRMU says.

700 Block

Last Sunday, New Life Church held its first service in its new home in the ground floor of 610 Main St., the old Osco Drug/Urban Garden Montessori space. The downtown Little Rock wing of growing nondenominational church, which has locations throughout the state, leased and rehabbed the 10,000-square-foot space. It had been meeting at the Central Arkansas Library System's Ron Robinson Theater.

Little Rock's first "skyscraper," the 14-story, 92-year-old Donaghey Building at 703 Main St., was sold in November 2017 to LRMU, a Virginia company, for $5.7 million. The previous owner, Hot Springs-based Lake Hamilton Corp., purchased the building in 2001 at the bargain basement price of $599,000, but plans to renovate fell through. LRMU plans to convert the 107,957-square-foot former office building into 152 one-bedroom studio and two-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 539 to 1,093 square feet. Tenant-friendly features include a fitness center, meeting rooms and an outdoor patio for use by residents, with retail space on the ground floor. The renovation is projected to cost $21 million. A skywalk that connects the building to the Donaghey Building North across East Seventh Street will be removed during construction. Construction is scheduled to begin this year, with completion next year.


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