Seal of Little Rock

Wednesday, Sep 09, 2020

City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421

Media Releases

Contact(s): Stephanie Jackson | (c) 501 539 3960 | (e)

Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., Utilities, UA Little Rock Announce Revitalization Plan for Asher Avenue, Incentives for Land and Property Owners

On Wednesday, September 2, the leaders of Central Arkansas Water (CAW), Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority (LRWRA) and UA Little Rock joined business owners and Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. to announce a plan for revitalization of the Asher Ave. corridor and the Plaza Shopping Center, as well as the first-ever incentive package for areas south of Interstate 630 and east of Interstate 30.

The City of Little Rock’s plans target property along Asher Ave., from Woodrow St. to University Ave., for redevelopment or demolition. Planning and Development Director Jamie Collins provided specific details about plans for the first three properties the City has targeted due to their severe degradation. Those include structures at the following addresses:

  • 5518 W 33rd—to be rehabilitated for business expansion
  • 4500 Asher Ave.—to be demolished upon completion of environmental study of impact on demolition
  • 3004 Lewis St.—to be rehabilitated for mixed use, including office space

“Intentionality is at the root of this effort to develop a plan to help move our residents from disconnected to connected,” Mayor Scott said. “It’s time to revitalize the Asher Avenue corridor, and I’m grateful that we have partners to help us make it happen.”

In announcing the incentive package for areas south of I-630/east of I-30, Mayor Scott called it a “game changer… a first step, to spur on economic development along Asher and in other areas that have been neglected for decades.”

The City of Little Rock will waive the following fees: Building Permit Fee; Building Plan Review Fee; Electrical Permit Fee; Plumbing Permit Fee; and Heating/Air Mechanical Permit Fee. CAW will waive residential service activation and reconnection fees as well as meter installation fees and provide discounts to commercial developers on service connection, meter installation, plan review, and construction inspection fees. LRWA will waive connection, inspection, and sewer seal fees for both residential and commercial property owners and additionally street excavation for residential owners.

“People don’t realize that an empty storefront or vacant lot is a burden on rate payers, because there’s no revenue coming in,” Ted Bohannon, CAW CEO, said. “Yet the infrastructure under the ground to provide water has to be revitalized. So we’re excited to be a part of this and Central Arkansas Water is happy to work with developers and home owners that try to go in and redevelop their properties to make sure they have water service on their lots in a way that’s affordable and in a way that they can move forward with their plans without that undue financial burden.”

“We’re committed to providing an opportunity for revitalization,” Greg Ramon, LRWRA CEO said. “It provides a foundation for our city to build upon and improve the lives of residents, creates a strong, diverse community, attracts talent and grows business.”

“If you take the three addresses [aforementioned], for example, the City is waiving $2,500 for one, $1,700 for another and $1,200 for the third,” Mayor Scott said. “These will add up to substantial savings for property owners and developers.”

UA Little Rock, which owns several properties including the Plaza Shopping Center, announced plans for redevelopment of this Asher-University anchor. It currently houses various university departments and units, including public radio stations KUAR and KLRE.

“Our plans have always been to rebuild this center with a focus not just on our campus needs but also how those might intersect with the interests of business and the concerns of the community in which we live,” Chancellor Christy Drale said. “This is a really important project for us. A redeveloped center on the south end of the UA Little Rock campus will provide an important face to the Asher Avenue corridor and add to the positive development for this part of Little Rock, and we are excited to be a part of these changes.”

Drale stated the university’s potential plans include retail, restaurant, and a variety of other cultural activities alongside campus needs.