Local & Regional News
7:45 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Little Rock Technology Park Board Votes Downtown Site As Top Choice

Little Rock Technology Park Authority
Members of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board discuss their top choice for the location of the tech park.

A site in downtown Little Rock is the choice for the location of a new technology park. 

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board voted 4-to-3 Wednesday afternoon to move ahead with looking at the downtown Little Rock area as its top choice for the tech park.

The other two sites that had been under consideration were a site at UALR and the Sears Building at I-630 and University Avenue.

Board Member Jay Chesshir with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, who voted for the downtown location, said they'll now utilize the consultant who has helped the board throughout the process and hire a real estate professional to work with that consultant on moving forward.

"[They will] identify the site-specifics in the downtown area [and] how we can create connectivity. Whether that's taking existing buildings along with new buildings or if that's strictly on a new building perspective. All of those things now need to be looked at," said Chesshir.

Some board members who did not vote for the site as their top choice expressed concerns that having the tech park downtown will mean giving up physical connectivity to UALR.

That included the board's chair, Dr. Mary Good, who's with the College of Engineering and Information Technology at UALR.

She said she ranked the downtown site last because she feels the available property downtown is scattered. She added that there does not seem to be a way to put together enough property to create something that looks like a tech park.  

"How do we manage to acquire enough property down there to have some continuity? All of the pieces are very scattered and very small. How to put that together in somewhat of a park arrangement, in my mind, is going to be somewhat difficult," said Dr. Good.

Meanwhile, UAMS has said it would locate biosciences efforts at the downtown site.

The three board members who did not vote for the downtown location as their top choice all voted for the Sears Building site.