Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Big Radar Wednesday

Big Downtown Keeps Bumping and Grinding

I know most of you don't remember that song call "Downtown" by Petula Clark that was done ancient years ago. Of course this really dates myself but it was a favorite especially as I sought to do just what the song heralded to do and go live downtown. I lived in the Quapaw Quarter for some ten years and enjoyed what shopping I could do along Main street then and before when there were many
shops that lined the streets including J.C.Penny's, Osco Drugs, M.M. Cohn and other' that are long gone.

I also remembered the period when "downtown" went uptown with the ill fated Metro Center Mall that paved over the streets then was ripped up to its current incarnation. So I am always intrigued with more news about what's to come in the town center. Especially the recent shaking and moving of more expensive living spaces, trendy restaurants and the this week's news of Chi Hotel Group of Little Rock announcing (April 14) plans for an $18 million Aloft Hotel at the Boyle Building in downtown Little Rock. (pictured)

Plans for the hotel include a 3,500-SF upscale restaurant, 4,000-SF of meeting space, a ground floor coffee shop and a rooftop pool. Yes, a rooftop pool! The hotel, itself, will have 140 rooms.
The renovations are set to begin in about five months, and be completed in the first quarter of 2016. For more info on the plans, check out the story at Arkansas Business.
The Boyle Building, a 12-story structure at the corner of Main Street and Capitol Avenue, was built in 1909, and is yet another improvement in a long line of Main Street projects.
Jacob Chi, the hotel group's managing partner, said he expects Aloft to be an epicenter for social activity on Main Street. "We expect this to be a fantastic place for social events," he said. "We have every confidence that this will be an exceptional property."
But in the meantime, I keep wondering just how many more hotels can Little Rock host? There's the 16 Million dollar upgrade of the Marriott and its 418 rooms, a $16 Million dollar development of a Hilton Garden Inn at Fourth & Cumberland with 135 rooms and around the corner a 119 room Hampton Inn & Suites plus other Rivermarket hotels. Let's not even talk about the parking nightmare or if there's a special event going on that seems to jam the area beyond capacity. Maybe some of the know it all's will work on some of that shortly.
Wow, seems like a lot or rooms that need "heads in beds" as we in the industry ponder. Yet with all this growth, comes jobs, but usually these jobs are not living wage jobs but rather resulting in a continuation of minimum wage opportunities with no benefits, overtime possibilities and slight chances for promotions. I'm big on Little Rock and certainly promote our fair city as a unique destination site. However, I would hope as things keep shaping up that the rest of the city doesn't get left behind.
Illuminaughty Premieres at Sway
Can you say "sex on a disco stick." Well that's what a Facebook posting spills about the April 18 event stepping off at 9pm at Club Sway, 412 Louisiana Street in Downtown Little Rock.
At post time, I had got a firm understanding of exactly what this is all about but what I would gather is that this is a "eye candy, boy toys shaking their "bon bon's" to all manner of vibes, light affects and perhaps each other to boot. Personally I've seen a lot of this type of entertainment and I do mean a lot of it. I would hope that
maybe this might have something new or at least something unique that might be worth the price of admission which was not mentioned on FB.
A couple of pictures show that high tech big screens may features some added flair with erotic video to accompany who or what is live on stage. Now if I wanted to stretch my imagination, I would assume that perhaps some scantly clad beef cake might go into some simulated sex acts or even some pseudo "commando" titillation that could get one in the mood. I can't say that any of that will be going on, but I'm sure that they will do there best to be as erotic as possible without being arrested. If not hope some body got bail money!  The owners of Club Sway have been on a trek to make their swank surroundings versatile and capable of handling many type of productions and or fundraisers. I applaud these businessmen for their staying power and vision to attempt to keep moving the ball forward in the entertainment arena.
Groups A-Go-Go
As a community service, COP 24/7 makes a concerted effort to blast out as many items as possible that make our deadline cut. In former post, we've waxed on about more groups being developed, organized or otherwise. For some, "more is more," and let's just say if you don't have something to belong to, there's plenty of groups to go around that you can participate. This Community Advisory Board is slate to "shape HIV/AIDS research projects, design interventions and putting all of this into practice."
 Hold up.. wait a minute? Just for the record, there is currently a Arkansas HIV Planning Group that also has "experts, community members, providers, consumers and clinicians," that have been at the forefront of their mission to "decrease HIV infections" across the state. This entity is guided by non other than their collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health and the U.S. Center for Disease Control which provides the entire funding steam around prevention and education for the state. So what is this all about it?  Unfortunately at post time, COP 24/7 had not got feedback from Ms. Lovelady on the "who, what, when and why" is this advisory board coming to the table. Stay tuned, because we will be asking all the right questions and you will learn about it here first!!

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