$20 million Esplanade development kicks off in North Little Rock

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 4,063 views 

Arkansas-based Monde Group broke ground Wednesday (Jan. 8) on the Esplanade District, a 41-acre mixed-use neighborhood development in North Little Rock along the Arkansas River. It is located adjacent to Rockwater Village and Riverside at Rockwater Apartments.

The first phase includes the construction of Esplanade luxury apartment homes, which will feature 92 one- and two-bedroom units, all with private balconies or patios. The property, which is expected to cost about $20 million to develop, is scheduled to open in early 2021.

“Esplanade will offer a unique living experience unlike any other in central Arkansas,” said Blake Jackson founder and managing partner of the Monde Group. “In addition to our premiere valet services and enhanced security features, our property will also feature a spa, fitness center, bicycle lockers, beach, swim-up bar, entertainment and lush gardens.”

Future costs of the acreage to be developed are unknown. Over the next 10-15 years, Jackson said the development will include restaurants, bars and specialty shops with condos, single-family homes and a boutique hotel.

“We really see Esplanade as the first step on a new path to modern living in central Arkansas,” Jackson said. “With close proximity to parks, golf courses, the millennium bike trail, Rockwater Marina, the Argenta Arts District, downtown Little Rock, North Little Rock, and the Clinton National Airport, Esplanade will boast the first significant phase of what will be a multi-phase community development and continue the momentum of Rockwater Village and North Little Rock’s building renaissance.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson was on hand for the groundbreaking. The Esplanade District is centered in one of the largest tracts of land selected in 2018 as an “opportunity zone,” areas in the state that offer great potential for development and economic growth.

Last year, Hutchinson approved 85 Opportunity Zones in Arkansas to provide tax incentives for private investment in low-income communities across the state. Out of the 337 qualified tracts, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) said those “OZs” were chosen based on their potential for economic success and ability to attract investment.

Opportunity zones were created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They allow investors to defer or eliminate taxes on capital gains.

“This property is one of the largest newly-formed opportunity zones in Arkansas and will be a shining example of what this legislation was designed to create,” Jackson said.

The Monde Group was founded by Jackson, who previously worked at Cromwell Architects and AMR Architects Inc.