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Riverdale Office Building develops; investment momentum grows for a new $3.75 million project.

A FIVE-STORY PROJECT in the Riverdale area could add 75,000 SF of office space to the Little Rock market next year if progress continues.

The project, expected to require a minimum investment of $3.75 million, would mark the first large multi-tenant office building developed in Little Rock since the 86,000-SF Searcy Building in 1989.

The working name of the project is Riverdale Office Building; but, like other details, this is tentative.

The size of the building is contingent on the participation of the prospective lead tenant and investor: T.J. Raney & Sons, a division of Morgan Keegan & Co. of Memphis. The investment firm is looking at options to relocate from its leased quarters at 3600 Cantrell Road, and indications are that Morgan Keegan is moving forward with participation in the 75,000-SF proposal.

Helping to coordinate the proposed office project is Ron Tabor, partner in the commercial real estate firm of Flake Tabor Tucker Wells & Kelley.

"There's still some preliminary documentation being pulled together," Tabor says. "I would hope that in the very near future a decision will be made to proceed with it or table it. I am very optimistic about the deal, but I've been in the business long enough to be cautious."

Negotiators have been walking a tight-rope over the issue of fair play. Considerations involve balancing the concerns -- such as who would have a river view -- of big and small players.

If for some reason the proposal hits the wall, Morgan Keegan will likely pursue its own building. That would probably result in the other investors/tenants developing a scaled-down version of the Riverdale Office Building.

The two-building scenario would require sites other than the seven-acre location on Riverfront Drive, between Riverwalk Apartments and the Canal Pointe residential development.

Other names linked in the preliminary circle of investors include Robert East, president of his namesake construction firm Robert East Co.; Watty Wills, president of the Frank J. Wills Co. advertising firm; and Chip Murphy of El Dorado, who initially oversaw the Chenal Valley development through Murphy Oil Co.'s Deltic Farm & Timber Co. subsidiary.

Though no longer affiliated with Chenal Valley, Murphy has struck out on his own into real estate investment. He is a player in the new Wal-Mart Center in Monticello.

The Robert East Co. and Polk Stanley Saunders & Associates Architects already are being touted as the prospective general contractor/design team for the project.

As a tenant, the Frank J. Wills Co. would have to relocate from its downtown Little Rock quarters at 1020 W. Third St.
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Author:Waldon, George
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 9, 1993
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