One trip down Main Street and you’re sure to notice one thing. There is a lot of construction going on.
It’s all part of the creative corridor project, which is in full swing, and a vision launched by the City of Little Rock and the Downtown Little Rock Partnership in December 2012. Officials hope the corridor, which includes a four-block area on Main Street between Third and Seventh streets, will bring the arts, culture, retail and jobs together in a work-live environment in downtown.
There have been multiple announcements of groups coming to Main Street. Here are five things you can look for this summer in the Arkansas Building:
•Arkansas Symphony Orchestra — ASO announced in January 2013 it executed a lease to move its offices and practice space into a 12,250-SF area in the Arkansas Building and M.M. Cohn Building at the corner of Main and Sixth streets. The move more than doubles the symphony’s current space, around 6,000-SF, at the St. John Catholic Center on Tyler Street, and at no added cost for at least the first three years of the lease.
With the new space, the symphony will be able to perform smaller concerts, take advantage of new rehearsal space and additional offices, in addition to a lobby area.
Executive Director Christina Littlejohn said ASO was planning to move into its new location June 1. Littlejohn said the company has raised $70,000 of the $100,000 total it hoped to attain for the move.
•Arkansas Repertory Theatre — With its main theatre right across the street, The Rep hopes to use its 6,700-SF of space in the Arkansas Building for education. Bob Hupp, The Rep’s producing artistic director, said the space will have three large classrooms equipped for acting, music and dance, in addition to a small black box theatre. Hupp said the expansion was, first and foremost, meant “to serve young people of all ages and backgrounds in all areas of performing arts.”
Hupp said The Rep hopes to move into its new place sometime between April and June.
•Ballet Arkansas — Plans for a 1,500-SF rehearsal studio should be realized soon for Ballet Arkansas. The group began raising $200,000 last summer to help secure the rehearsal and office space. According to Arkansas Business, the agreement puts Ballet Arkansas in the new space under five-year lease agreement for $175,000. The remaining $25,000 was needed for moving and renovation costs.
•Artist Matt McLeod — Opening a gallery is a dream realized for this 11-year visual artist professional. McLeod’s studio, estimated at about 1,000-SF will be located left of the Sixth Street entrance into the Arkansas Building. The studio is set to include a gallery of his work, along with work of other artists, in addition to a work space for patrons to watch the artist at work. The gallery could open as soon as late April if construction continues on time, but a grand opening is likely near the end of May, McLeod said.
•Artisan cheese maker Kent Walker — Soon, the cheese productions of Kent Walker will also make its way to the Arkansas Building in downtown Little Rock. Currently, Walker’s manufacturing is done in east Little Rock.
Walker said his 2,000-SF space will include cheese production and a tasting area. The tasting room is expected to take up about a third of the area, and include a window to view the production while enjoying the finished product. In addition to the cheese, beer and wine will be served.
The new cheese shop will be located underground, which Walker said is conducive in the aging process of cheese.
Partnership executive director Sharon Priest said all five parties should be moved in by this summer.