Construction underway to create small-business district in Little Rock neighborhood

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Booming business is on the horizon for a long-standing Little Rock neighborhood.

The Pettaway area, just past SOMA on 21st and Rock St. is under construction to become a business district.

Dirt is moving and the empty lots are on the way to becoming a hub for small businesses in a Little Rock neighborhood.

Michael Orndorff lived in the Pettaway area and had the idea a few years ago to create a micro-business district full of entrepreneurs looking for a place to start.

“Next thing you know we picked up that corner, then we picked up this lot and the next thing you know things started falling together,” Orndorff said.

Orndorff said they have secured permits and funding for eight apartments and more than a dozen commercial units.

“Many of them are small store fronts, 300 square feet. Some are 550 square feet,” Orndorff said.

They are already in talks with business owners who will take over those storefronts.
“A coffee shop owner, a yoga studio and a microbrewery,” Orndorff said.

Cynthia Walker grew up in the Pettaway neighborhood and still lives there now.
“I grew up on Cumberland since I was a little girl, since I was five years old,” Walker said.

She’s excited to have places to eat and drink right in their backyard.

“Especially my mom, she’s been single for 30 something years. It would be good for her to walk and see different places. It would be like a small mini downtown,” Walker said.

For Orndorff, he’s had to battle a pandemic and lack of supplies to get the ball rolling, but he’s ready to see the buildings go up and shops move in.

“I want my son, I want my daughter to see small business owners, starting businesses, running businesses,” Orndorff said.

Orndorff said they hope to have everything complete in a year. They also bought a couple more lots for a second and third phase and are still working on plans for those.

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