LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Downtown is not just a place to work and play, but it’s become a desirable place to live. The latest Metroplan trends report shows the downtown Little Rock population has increased 54 percent over the last 15 years.
"I can just walk down to the river market within 10 minutes and there’s all the activities I need," said downtown resident, Daniel Holland. "It was close to work and I didn't want to get in my car and face that morning commute."
In 2000, downtown Little Rock's population was more than 800 people. Today it’s more than 1,300.
“That’s significant,” said Jonathan Lupton, Research Planner with Metroplan.
20 years ago, it was a much different downtown.
“Nobody ever complained about a lack of parking because there was a whole lot more parking than people," said Rett Tucker with Moses Tucker Real Estate.
In 1999, Moses Tucker Real Estate opened 31 loft apartments called Tuf-Nut
“Nobody knew what was going to happen. We all wondered if it was going to sit there empty, no, it leased up fast," said Lupton.
“People are tired of the long commutes and being away from downtown. Downtown’s the biggest employment center," said Tucker.
Over the last 15 years, Moses Tucker has built about 500 units.
“We're always looking ahead to the next project," said Tucker who adds they don’t have a problem finding tenants. “We finished MacArthur Commons last September; it was 100 percent the day we opened."
Lupton says they're not just seeing this trend in Little Rock
“It’s not just in Little Rock, but also in Argenta in North Little Rock, Hendrix Village in Conway has proven popular,” said Lupton.
“It’s happening all across the country," said Tucker.
While trends show mostly young people rent downtown, Tucker adds that their demographics range. His marketing research shows mostly women ages 55-64 are purchasing their downtown condos.