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A proposal for North Little Rock to sell several adjoining city properties in an area north of East Broadway to Bruce Oakley Inc., would provide the city with $1.1 million while freeing it from managing the properties that include several warehouses.

The North Little Rock City Council is to consider a resolution at its 6 p.m. meeting tonight to authorize a purchase agreement for the 11 parcels in the vicinity of North Buckeye Street and East Fifth Street.

Oakley, a distribution and transportation company at 3700 Lincoln Road, has rented some of the warehouses for years and approached the city with an offer to buy the land. The properties appraised for $1.4 million in July.

Oakley plans to invest $600,000 to $900,000 in renovations to expand its business, according to the legislation. Some of the warehouses are in disrepair, Mayor Joe Smith said last week.

An abandoned rail line runs through the site that could link to Oakley's main property, said Todd Larson, the city's economic development director.

"The primary renter all along has been the Bruce Oakley company," Larson said Friday. "The smaller [warehouse buildings] for the most part are rented by Oakley. Most of them have no electricity, no heat, no air [conditioning]. Just storage. Keep things out of the rain. They made an offer to buy it."

The city acquired the properties from a former company during the 1990s, Larson said. The properties had been managed by the nonprofit North Little Rock Economic Development Corp. The nonprofit, for which Larson had served as executive director, dissolved last year. Larson moved to city employment as part of Smith's office as of July 1.

The city has received "rent of $3,000 a month, approximately," Smith said, but it has no real use for the properties other than using one of the buildings for storage. Oakley will allow the city to continue using that warehouse for "four or five months at no cost," Smith said.

"They need the space to expand their business," Smith said. "Oakley is a very large, growing company in North Little Rock. This will help them and will help us. We won't have to manage those properties any more."

The $1.1 million received from the sale could be used for a special project or projects in the near future, Smith said.

"I want to earmark it," Smith said of the funds. "I have two or three ideas. I've not made up my mind yet. For practical purposes, it'll go into the general fund for now."

Metro on 02/11/2019

Print Headline: North Little Rock council plans look at $1.1M warehouse deal

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