LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — There's a lot of history at the Breckenridge Village shopping center in West Little Rock— and Wayne Iburg, Jr., general manager of the Loony Bin Comedy Club, knows this firsthand.
"We've been a comedy club in this location since they built this building," Iburg, Jr., said.
He said that he's seen plenty of neighboring businesses come and go, but there are new developments coming that have him excited for the future.
"The community that we have here in Breckenridge Village is just all excitement all around for all of us small businesses that have been here struggling for years," Iburg, Jr., described.
When plans were announced earlier this year, artist renderings showed Waldo's Chicken and Beer in the complex— but it won't be the only restaurant joining in.
"I can say that from what I know of that development, it's going to be one of the biggest events for the Little Rock food scene in recent years," said Jack Sundell, owner of the Root Cafe.
Sundell said they plan to open a second location in the Village, and they're not the only ones— Deluca's Pizzeria of Hot Springs said they're about to sign the paperwork to join too.
"It's great for your business, it's great for your community," Sundell said. "It's gonna be great for our staff, and it's a win-win."
The CEO of Kelley Commercial Partners, Hank Kelley, is the project manager for Breckenridge Village. He said that he's been an investor for years, and wants to see the complex thrive.
"I explained to some of my friends, that this is the biggest recycling operation that I've ever undertaken," Kelley said.
Part of that will come from blending the new with the old.
"There's no one that we're going to right now, saying, 'You have to leave.'" Kelley said. "Because that's not the way we do business."
Kelley said that as of right now, they're planning on all current businesses being in the new-look center, and are planning on adding more.
He added that Mt. Fuji will be changing locations within the Village, and Flyway Brewing will be added to its current location.
"It's a really good sign to see entrepreneurs and business owners in that area of the economy taking risks like this and trying something new," Dr. Jeremy Horpedahl, an economist at UCA, said.
Back at the Root, Sundell said that he couldn't agree more.
"There's nothing about this that makes me nervous," he said. "And I think that's why I know it's the right thing for us to do as a business."
Kelley said that they expect to start work on the project within the first quarter of 2023.