Central NLR attracting projects

Commercial activity in the vicinity of Main Street and Pershing Boulevard in North Little Rock is on the rise, in part because of the ongoing expansion of North Little Rock High School — which will eventually be one of the largest high schools in the state.

Central NLR Attracting Projects

Kevin Patel, an owner in what will be a Baymont Inn & Suites in North Little Rock, oversees work to the former Simply Home In… (By: Staton Breidenthal)

Central NLR Attracting Projects

Several hotel properties, including this Baymont Inn & Suites at 110 E. Pershing Blvd., have changed hands in a rising area f… (By: Staton Breidenthal)

In recent months, several properties in the area of the school have sold, gone up for sale or are undergoing remodeling. The high school’s transformation will provide enough space for about 3,000 students — the area’s own built-in consumer base. For years, the North Little Rock Holidome Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn was the place for events and conventions. Its spot at 111 W. Pershing Blvd. was ideal because of its access to and visibility from Interstate 40.

In the years after the heyday of the Holidome, new hotels, restaurants and businesses were built near McCain Mall, also in North Little Rock. The hotel’s business suffered along with other businesses at the intersection.

“In the surrounding neighborhoods, safety concerns — whether right or wrong — added to people’s perception of the area,” said listing agent Cynthia Lu of Flake & Kelley Commercial. The landmark hotel had lost its luster and was branded as a Budgetel Inn & Suites when it sold recently to petroleum giant Murphy USA, which plans to build a large-scale convenience store there.

Lu said she got more calls on the Budgetel property than any other property she’s handled in Arkansas.

“I was getting at least three calls a week, and that’s a lot,” she said. Lu said her firm has three fast-food restaurant clients with a strong interest in locating on an acre lot next to the Murphy USA site. The Budgetel owner, Tariq Inc., split the 2.8 acres and 120-room Budgetel from another parcel that holds an 80-room hotel, Lu said. That smaller property, on 1.77 acres, was sold for $800,000 in August to Shani Dev LLC, led by Ronak B. Patel.

It’s now a Super Stay Inn. The same hoteliers own and operate the nearby Americas Best Value Inn. A Clarion hotel, previously another Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn at 120 W. Pershing, was sold for $2.85 million in August by First Community Bank in Batesville to a hotel group out of Los Angeles that goes by North Little Rock Hospitality LLC. Randy Rewis, head of commercial lending for the bank, said the lodging has been re-branded as a Red Roof Inn. The property is the Los Angeles group’s only hotel in Arkansas.

“It’s an ideal location for some upgrading,” Rewis said. “It had gotten to the point where it was generally a run-down area.”

The Simply Home Inn & Suites — soon to be a Baymont Inn & Suites — at 110 E. Pershing Blvd. sold in March of last year for $1.3 million to Shree Mahalaxmi Corp. of Humble, Texas, and is undergoing a fairly extensive renovation. Officials in the city’s planning department said the new owner is working inside and out, replacing the sheetrock, roof and carpet. Last month, a former Arvest bank branch at 2610 Main St.

sold for $430,000 to Tropical Real Estate LLC to be converted into a Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Lee Strother of Colliers International-Arkansas, who handled the sale for the bank, said the intersection around his alma mater is ripe for improvement.

“That area has been dying for a nice re-development, and with the high school expansion … it’s great timing for the intersection,” Strother said. He said the Tropical Smoothie Cafe is one of a few healthful options for North Little Rock High School students in the area. A former Chinese buffet restaurant at 109 E.

Pershing is now vacant and listed for lease by Coldwell Banker Commercial Hathaway Group. Owner Joe Veiga also owns the Moose Cleaners next door and bought that property at 105 E. Pershing for $650,000 in August. Katherine Gentry with Coldwell Banker said the buffet went out of business last year but she believes it should remain a restaurant. Just off the interchange of Interstates 30 and 40, a 10-year-old 6,100-square-foot building is for sale for $650,000.

The building at 2402 Main St., across from the police station and high school, was once a beauty school.

SundayMonday Business on 01/31/2016

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