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Stop Sprawl
Fall 2000 Sprawl Report

States at a Glance: Arkansas

Block 2 Lofts
(Little Rock)
Bringing Downtown Back to Life
Deltic Timber
(Little Rock)
Developer Pushes Little Rock's Limits


Block 2 Lofts
(Little Rock)
Bringing Downtown Back to Life

Private developers often need just a little encouragement to turn their talents to rebuilding downtown areas and main streets. Public assistance in the form of tax credits or financing can sometimes make all the difference. The Block 2 Lofts in Little Rock's Rivermarket District are a testament to the flexibility and potency of using public/private partnerships to create innovative smart-growth developments.

The Block 2 Lofts project is being redeveloped by the Vanadis group and involves the conversion of three historic buildings, located in the heart of the Rivermarket Entertainment District, into loft-style apartments. All three buildings -- the Wallace Building, Beal-Burrow Dry Goods Building, and Democrat Printing and Lithograph Building -- date back to the mid-1920s, and one is on the National Register of Historic Places. Though their original tenants have moved on, Little Rock has grown into a community of more than 170,000 people and housing is in demand.

But turning these buildings into apartments will do more than provide housing -- these loft conversions are part of the renewal of Little Rock's downtown. Thanks to the efforts of creative developers and government incentives, the city's center has come back to life. Now that the area is thriving, adding housing will complete the mix.

Though the city has done much to help rejuvenate downtown, the state of Arkansas could do more to offer community-centered developers state-of-the-art financial tools. Developers who are willing to redevelop historic buildings and create smart growth should have the full range of public/private financing options at their disposal. An examination of downtown Little Rock makes the benefits abundantly clear.


Deltic Timber
(Little Rock)
Developer Pushes Little Rock's Limits

Deltic Timber, one of several developers adding to Little Rock's sprawl, has successfully petitioned for the annexation of nearly 5,000 acres of land and has developed thousands of home sites and hundreds of acres of commercial properties. This sprawling growth has contributed to a regrettable trend: the flight of Little Rock's wealthier residents. And, despite recent progress, sprawl has long been aided by the city's leaders. Little Rock has a history of letting the developers plan the growth of the city.

Fortunately, these activities have been challenged by a coalition of conservation, neighborhood and social-justice groups led by the Little Rock New Party and assisted by Sierra Club members.

States at a Glance | Introduction | Resources | Acknowledgments


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