In The News

Despite Sale, Symphony Ready for New Offices in M.M. Cohn Building

The executive director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra said she’s looking forward to moving into new offices inside the renovated M.M. Cohn Co. building downtown, even as the building’s owner prepares to sell the property.

Reed Realty Advisors of Portland, Oregon, said Thursday that it is selling the M.M. Cohn Co. building at 510 S. Main St. and the Hall and Davidson buildings at 215 W. Capitol.

Reed has listed the M.M. Cohn building for $3.8 million, the Hall Building for $2.3 million and the Davidson Building for $895,000. Flake & Kelley Commercial of Little Rock is handing the sale.

Reed Realty developer Scott Reed was traveling Friday and did not return phone calls by deadline.

Built in 1941, the M.M. Cohn building served as the headquarters for the department store chain, now defunct. Reed Realty announced in 2012 that it would begin renovating the building for mixed use, and in January 2013, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra reached an agreement to move its administrative offices into space on its first floor.

The ASO said it would take up 12,250 SF, which included space in the neighboring Arkansas Building. The space is twice as big as the 6,000 SF the symphony now occupies at St. John Catholic Center on the campus of the Catholic Diocese at 2417 N. Tyler St. in Little Rock.

On Friday, Christina Littlejohn, the symphony’s executive director, said the sale wouldn’t affect the ASO’s plans to move.

“Our understanding is that any sale of the Cohn building would be subject to our lease,” she said. “We are looking forward to the new space whoever the owner might be.”

Reed and partners Wooten Epes and Brian Corbell spent $1.5 million in 2012 to buy the 62,688-SF M.M. Cohn Building and three neighboring properties from Lafayette Plaza LLC, led by Stephen Marks Sr. Reed and his partners purchased the buildings through their LLC, Main Street Lofts. Reed was redeveloping the property for residential, retail and office use.

Two years later, Capitol Lofts, another LLC led by Reed, bought the Hall-Davidson property for $850,000 from Robert Davidson. The building consists of a five-story 41,672-main building and an adjoining three-story 19,752-SF annex. Reed redeveloped the property for 56 apartments and office and retail use.

Main Street developer puts MM Cohn, Hall buildings up for sale

Reed Realty, which bought the MM Cohn Co. Building on the 500 block of Main along with all the other buildings on the west side of that street in 2012, is selling the former department store and two other Reed properties, the Davidson building and the Hall building, at 215 W. Capitol, because of the state’s new rule on historic tax credits, Josh Blevins of the company said today.

Asking prices are $3.7 million for the MM Cohn Co., 510 Main St.; $2.3 million for the Hall Building and $895,000 for the Davidson Building. Reed expected to develop the Hall-Davidson properties as one apartment complex. Flake & Kelley are realtors.

The new state rule allows only one tax credit for each eligible property for a 24-month period. The law allows a developer to get a tax credit of 25 percent of the first $500,000 in expenses on an income-producing patroperty. Blevins said he would get back to the Times on how much Reed has invested and how many tax credits the developers were relying on.

In an interview for a Times article on downtown development in January, Blevins said the MM Cohn space, which Reed announced two years ago would be the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra offices, would be complete by February, after special lighting and flooring had been installed. Blevins said the sale of the building should not affect the Symphony’s tenancy. Christina Littlejohn, executive director of the symphony, has not returned a call.

In that same interview, Blevins said the 1924 Hall-Davidson buildings would be developed into 56 apartments, and that a brewery and three other restaurants were interested in locating on the ground floor.

Progress on Reed properties on the 500 block of Main has been slow, though Blevins said the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has moved into it space in what was known as the Arkansas Building and its annex, adjacent to the MM Cohn building. Also, Reed has still not completed the KLofts project begun five years ago to convert the former Blass building at 315 Main St. into residences. Most of the work has been completed, but appliances are still lacking. In a January article on downtown development in the Times, Blevins said the company was waiting on appliances but expected to open in March. Today, Blevins said the issue is not capital, but appliances. There are 32 units in the KLofts. I’d bet Sears would deliver.

The news of these sales comes on reports — as yet unconfirmed — that plans to turn the Boyle Building at Capitol and Main into an Aloft hotel have run into difficulties. Calls to Jacob Chi and Jasen Chi of owners Chi Hotel Group have not answered repeated calls.

LR theater to be razed after property’s sale

The Village Shopping Center at Asher and University avenues changed hands last month and with it came the decision to raze the old Cinema 150, one-half of the first dinner-and-a-movie date place in Little Rock.

The shopping center was owned for at least 20 years by an out-of-state investment group,Flake & Kelley Commercial brokered a deal in which Greater Missouri sold the property for $3 million to a longtime client, North MacArthur Investments LLC. Flake & Kelley will handle leasing and property management for the Village Shopping Center, which is to undergo major improvements starting with the removal of the movie theater.

“More than anything, it’s a cleanup of a property that has been a problem” safetywise, said Hank Kelley, chief executive officer of the Little Rock-based commercial real estate firm.

Tearing down the domeshaped theater will make the 153,400-square-foot shopping center more visible and provide an opportunity for North MacArthur Investments to lease the land where the theater now stands or replace it with a new building for a restaurant, retail or some other use, Kelley said.

The theater building was erected in the late 1960s but has been vacant for several years. It’s functionally obsolete, Kelley said.

Another of the center’s mainstays, Casa Bonita, is not being torn down but is also dormant and has been vacant for some time. In the ’60s and ’70s, the two went hand in hand.

“You’d go to the theater at the Cinema 150 and go to Casa Bonita, which was [among] the first generation of Mexican restaurants in the state,” Kelley said.

“The Cinema 150 is definitely one of those things remembered for first dates and great movies seen, but literally there’s not a theater operator that has any interest in trying to make a single theater work, and that building has lived past its economic life.”

Danny-Joe Crofford, director of marketing for War Memorial Stadium but formerly with United Artists, said the theater was named the Cinema 150 because its screen curved at a 150-degree angle, unlike the regular flat screen.

It opened with The Odd Couple in 1968, only because the science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey was delayed in getting to Little Rock.

The longest-running films over the theater’s career, he said, were: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 13 months; Titanic, 10 months; and Top Gun, nine months.

After it closed as a theater in 2003 – the last movie was X2: X-Men United – it was reincarnated as a music venue, but even that didn’t last very long, said Matt Smith, owner of the Riverdale 10 Cinema in Little Rock, the Searcy Cinema 8, the Cabot Cinema 8 and the Hot Springs Mall Cinema.

It’s not that theaters are going away, it’s just that smaller cinemas are being replaced with bigger venues with more screens, he said.
For example, when the 18-screen Rave Motion Pictures theater opened, the same number of screens went away, one of them being the Cinema 150.

“What happens in movie exhibition – new theaters come in, old theaters fold, but the screen count pretty much stays the same,” Smith said. “New theaters typically cannibalize the business of ol! d theaters.”

When the sale to North MacArthur Investments closed on Dec. 18, the shopping center was about onehalf leased.

Notable tenants include Family Dollar; City Trends, a national urban fashion store; Aaron’s Rent-to-Own; and Sherwin-Williams Paints.

In addition, a furniture store has committed to lease 15,600 square feet, and Flake & Kelley is negotiating with a small grocer to take another 16,800 square feet.

Traffic counts in the area are high for in-town shopping centers, Kelley said: 40,000 cars a day traveling north and south on University Avenue and 29,000 cars a day traveling east and west on Asher Avenue, which becomes Colonel Glenn Road.

Kelley said those businesses are expected to be open for business within the next six months.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RICK McFARLAND
The boarded-up Cinema 150 at the Village Shopping Center in Little Rock has been vacant for several years and is described as functionally obsolete.
Copyright 2015, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Offices going up at Baptist Health

Flake & Kelley Commercial plans to build a $10 million medical office building on the Baptist Health campus in Little Rock, the first such building near the hospital since the 1980s, the developer said Friday.

The 40,000-square-foot building will be located on what is now a parking lot at the eastern edge of the campus at the intersection of Baptist Health and Emergency drives.

The development will be the first medical office building on the main Baptist Health campus since Medical Towers II was completed in 1986, said John Flake, chairman of the Little Rock commercial real estate firm.

Flake also is managing member of Emergency Drive LLC, which acquired the 5-acre site from Baptist Health in August for almost $873,000.

The building should have tenants committed to 70 percent of the space before construction begins, which is expected to be early next year, said James Harkins, a partner with Flake & Kelley.

Harkins declined to name tenants who will be in the building, although he said a couple are in different stages of commitment.

“I hope that by the first part of the year, some of the tenants will be making their own announcements,” Harkin’s said. “I’ll leave that up to them.”

There is a major demand for space at the Little Rock campus of Baptist Health, said Mark Lowman, a spokesman for the hospital.

“That’s why some of the other buildings [on the campus] have multiple use [of space] in them,” Lowman said.

It is uncertain how many physicians will locate in the building because it is unknown how much space each tenant will need, Harkins said.
The medical office building will be split level, providing patients with floor-level access to all suites. There will be several different physician specialties in the building, Harkins said.

There has been growth in the medical office sector nationally, Harkins said.

“I think a lot of it was driven by the changes in the health care laws,” Harkins said. “A lot of doctors are coming together to increase their referral base. These doctors can get efficiencies from a billing standpoint, an accounting standpoint and a compliance standpoint! .”
B eing on the Baptist Health campus is a huge benefit! , Harkins said.

The building will include state-of-the-art technology, Flake said.
“Everything now is electronic,” Flake said. “If you go back to the 1980s, doctors, of course, had [paper] medical records on their patients.”

The focus on having electronic medical records has been in the works for at least five years, said Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association.

“More and more hospitals and physicians buildings are moving to the use of electronic health records,” Cunningham said.

“It is definitely a trend nationwide.”

The building will allow physicians to maximize their patient flow and the efficiency of their space, Harkins said.

“A lot of the physicians’ offices have an antiquated flow based on the previous need for record storage,” Harkins said.

“We’ll have a more efficient layout here.”

Flake & Kelley will be the development manager of the project. Williams & Dean Associated Architects of Little Rock will be the project’s architect. VCC Construction will be the general contractor.

It will take about 10 months to construct the building, Haitham Alley of VCC said in a prepared statement.

Arkansas Democrat – Business Section on 12/13/2014

Print Headline: Offices going up at Baptist Health

What a Sweet Catch! Jonesboro Lands another National Tenant

JONESBORO, AR: Haag Brown Commercial is pleased to announce Gigi’s Cupcakes will be joining Uncle Maddio’s Pizza Joint and Aspen Dental in the new retail center currently in construction right off of Jonesboro’s main retail artery at 2203 Red Wolf Boulevard.

This approximately 8,600 square foot retail center facing Red Wolf Boulevard on the Fairgrounds Re-Development is situated between Panera Bread and Cheddar’s Casual Cafe. Construction is expected to be complete by this fall to allow for tenants to open simultaneously.

Beginning in Nashville, Tennessee in 2008, Gigi’s Cupcakes is the world’s largest gourmet cupcake company having 95 stores in 23 states. With Gigi’s motto of spreading love one cupcake at a time, the company has expanded to share even more love by offering cheesecakes, stuffed cookies, mini cupcakes and even gluten-free desserts.

“Gigi’s is to cupcakes like Starbucks is to coffee; they are the national cupcake leader and one of the most exciting names in retail right now,” said Haag Brown Commercial Principal Josua Brown. “Gigi’s is in line with the quality of companies that are part of the Fairgrounds Re-Development making it a major destination in Northeast Arkansas. We’re very excited to have our company’s leasing agent Garrett McPherson leading the way on this Gigi’s project. We have been working with Brooke Miller from Flake & Kelley Commercial, who represents Gigi’s as their leasing agent, for well over a year, so we are all glad it ended with a deal happening.”