A glimpse into just what is planned for NLR Argenta

It started with the arena, then the ballpark, and more recently a vibrant arts and entertainment district

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It started with the arena, then the ballpark, and more recently, a vibrant arts and entertainment district.

But North Little Rock and the Argenta district still has room to grow and the city's mayor is pushing a vision for downtown.       

"All of this area right here will be the plaza. All the way from that building to about right here."

A parking lot and a vacant lot, soon to get a makeover if North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith gets his way.
            
He is so eager to get the process moving.  He had to ask the city council to set up a moratorium to keep anybody else's vision from getting in the way.

"It was the easiest way without having to do a whole lot of legal contracts with the developer."

The 4-month hold gives the developer time and assurance. Now the mayor can start to paint a picture.
             
He wants something along the lines of Sundance Square in Fort Worth.  And not far away: An actual neighborhood.

"More single-family residential in the area back over there in the Greenbelt."

For an idea of what Mayor Smith has in mind for North Little Rock, THV11 was sent to Conway, to the village at Hendrix College. There they've managed to squeeze the white, picket-fence idea into a small urban space.

The mayor is specific about who he wants to attract here and how they will live here. We have plenty of apartments downtown right now.

He said, "We're in the process of building a couple more hundred. And...I don't want anymore apartments."

Single family homes would draw families, especially young families. The theory says young urbanites will jump at the chance to be steps from a major arena...good food and fine art.     

And the Mayor is proud of the plan so far.

"We wanted downtown North Little Rock to be a restaurant and entertainment district, and by golly it has turned into that."

It's an open question how much these projects will cost - for both the developer and the city.

The mayor says he first wants to make sure shovels go in the ground for the neighborhood, before pricing what the plaza would cost.
              


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