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Demolished bus terminal makes room for economic development in North Little Rock

North Little Rock leaders have made plans to revamp the city's downtown by developing an area near the Arkansas River where a former Greyhound bus station was.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — North Little Rock leaders have made plans to revamp the city's downtown area.

This all started a few months ago when the city decided to close a Greyhound bus station near the Arkansas River.

Now that it's gone, there's room for new opportunities and development.

Mayor Terry Hartwick of North Little Rock has talked about tearing down the former bus station for quite some time.

"This is not going to cost businesses, this going to create business," said Hartwick.

It seems that the recent demolition project sparked interest among developers like Scott Hilburn with the law firm, Hilburn & Harper, Ltd.

"The beautiful thing about North Little Rock is we have the space," Hilburn described. "Most downtown districts don't have the space to expand for new construction."

He would like to turn a parking lot located across from the Simmons Bank Arena into a multi-purpose building.

"Restaurants, bars [and] targeting street traffic and office space," Hilburn explained.

Robert Birch, Director of Development for the City in North Little Rock, said that now that the Greyhound bus terminal is no more, developers can get more of an idea of what structures could revamp the area.

"Seeing that land cleared really lets developers know that we can get in here fast and get to building and get to be profitable," Birch said.

Other ideas mentioned included possibly building a hotel where the former bus station once stood.

Also, the city will plan to demolish the service office building located across the street from the old bus station.

Mayor Hartwick said that he wants to construct a conference center in that area.

"Almost every week, I'd have somebody saying I need to have a place for 400 people to sit down and eat, and the first thing out of my mouth those days were you 'you got to go to Little Rock because we don't have it,'" Hartwick described.

That's just one of the many improvements to North Little Rock that Hartwick has been pushing for since 2021.

With land in the city's riverfront area up for sale and developers looking to invest, Hartwick said he will remain optimistic that a change is near.

"It brings people to our downtown [and] it shows us off so I'm very excited," Hartwick said.

About 15 developers have inquired about potentially building a hotel in place of the bus station, but it's still too early to report a final decision.

Leaders stated that they want this part of town to reflect the look and feel of the Argenta district, and they hope their projects will start next year.

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