UACDC receives 2012-2013 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education, Excellence in Housing Education for the project, Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood

dlrcdc-loggScott Grummer, Executive Director, Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation shared the following announcement regarding UACDC (University of Arkansas Community Design Center).

UACDC is pleased to announce the receipt of two awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, one as a team member of a larger collaborative.

The first award is the 2012-2013 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award for the project, Building Neighborhoods that Build Social and Economic Prosperity: Manual for a Complete Neighborhood, recognizing the collaboration between the Fay Jones School of Architecture and the Kigali Institute of Technology and Science in Rwanda. Each year, ACSA honors the best practices in school-based community outreach programs and four programs won the award this year. The collaboration involves practicing firms in an effort to construct a 2000-unit neighborhood that reflects Rwanda’s new national sustainability initiative.

The second award is the 2012-2013 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education, Excellence in Housing Education Course for the project, Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood. Each year, ACSA honors faculty who have demonstrated excellence by providing a venue for work that advances the reflective nature of practice and teaching by recognizing and encouraging outstanding work in architecture and related environmental design fields as a theoretical endeavor. This year, two programs won the housing award. UACDC’s project pioneers new urban neighborhood templates for affordable housing in Little Rock. 

Both projects will be featured in the ACSA’s forthcoming book on the 2013 awards program and at its annual convention in March in  San Francisco.

Stephen Luoni, Director

Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies

University  of  Arkansas Community  Design  Center

104 N, East Avenue, Suite 1   |    Fayetteville, AR 72701-6083

P.  479-575-5772 |   F.  479-575-7045  |

Arkansas Democrat Gazette spotlights Pettaway

Modular Home

Downtown rebound
Modern houses are springing up in declining or damaged LR neighborhoods
By Linda Caillouet

LITTLE ROCK — When a tornado tore through downtown Little Rock in January 1999, it destroyed dozens of houses in neighborhoods already showing the scars of urban decay.

One of the hardest hit areas was the neighborhood east of South Main between the Governor’s Mansion Historic District and the MacArthur Park Historic District.

After the debris was cleaned up and dangerous structures razed, what was left was a study in extremes – with beautifully renovated grand old homes surviving near the damaged shells of abandoned houses. And then there were the vacant lots – no block seemed to have escaped the effects of the twin terrors of urban decay and Mother Nature.

Today, however, a quick tour of the area shows that things seem to be improving. Scattered throughout are new houses – some designed to blend in with the remaining historic houses, others standing out with contemporary designs and materials.

Pettaway Neighborhood Container Home

The change is due to the efforts of numerous entities and individuals. This includes private builders who recognized the value of empty and inexpensive lots in the heart of the city, the nonprofit Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corp., which worked with the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to design and construct three houses, and, most of all, perhaps, new homeowners who were willing to buy into the future of this urban enclave.

“This neighborhood being so close to downtown is one of the reasons we’re experiencing such a strong interest in rebuilding efforts here,” says Scott Grummer, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corp.

Cantilever Home

On a recent morning, Daniel Peurifoy of Maumelle and Jason Clem of Little Rock were atop bright yellow scaffolding, tools in hand, applying strips of siding to a house being assembled at East 19th and Cumberland streets in the Pettaway Park neighborhood. Now graduates, the pair were pitching in to help finish a project they worked on as UA architecture students. Students had designed the structure, which was mainly built in pieces in a Fayetteville warehouse.

To read the rest of this article click here.

Pettaway Neighborhood Vision Plan

University of Arkansas Community Design Center (UACDC) in conjunction with the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation (DLRCDC) have completed a Pettaway Neighborhood Vision Plan.  According to DLRCDC Website, “the UACDC submitted its preliminary study for the Pettaway Neighborhood for review and feedback.  This initial study looks at what minimal investment can be made to achieve clear connections to Main Street and other anchors around the neighborhood.”

The UACDC/CDC will present their preliminary study to the Pettaway Community, 12:00 pm (Noon), Monday, April 16, 2012 at the East Broadway Alert Center, 500 East 21st Street (at the corner of Commerce).  Pettaway residents are encouraged to attend.  For more information contact Scott Grummer, Executive Director, DLRCDC at 501.372.0148.

Click (here) To see the preliminary Pettaway Neighborhood vision plan.


Bank of America denies loan for LR container house

Pettaway Neighborhood Container Home

The following article, Bank of America denies loan for LR container house appeared in the Arkansas Times.  Here’s an excerpt from the article.  Enjoy!

Bank of America denies loan for LR container house: Too “unusual” to appraise, bank says.

by Leslie Newell Peacock

Valarie Abrams appeared on the cover of the Arkansas Times last March, standing on the empty lot on 21st Street where her new home was to be built, a big smile on her face. The article was about the rise of the Pettaway neighborhood east of Main Street, which had suffered blows from gangs in the 1980s and a tornado in the ’90s, thanks to efforts of the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation. Abrams was in line to get her first house, which would also be Little Rock’s first home constructed from steel cargo containers, a green idea trending in new construction. She’d signed a contract with the DLRCDC to buy the house a year previously and was anxious to see the house go up.

But a couple of weeks ago, the Bank of America decided not to loan Abrams the money she needs to buy the $120,000 house. It’s not because she can’t afford it — she’s qualified through theNeighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, which works with Bank of America. It’s because, the bank has informed NACA, the home is too “unusual” to accurately appraise.

According to a spokesman in the Little Rock office of NACA, it’s the first time Bank of America has declined to finance a home in the NACA program in Little Rock, which began six years ago here.

Not only could Abrams lose out, but redevelopment in Pettaway, where a dozen homes have been built or remodeled over the past few years, could be stalled. “When something like this happens, it throws a wrench in the process,” said Scott Grummer, DLRCDC director. The DLRCDC needs to sell the house built for Abrams, at 421 E. 21st St., and the mirror-image container house next door, at 417 E. 21st, to fund its ongoing redevelopment of the neighborhood.

Bank of America has financed mortgages on other new homes in Pettaway, including two that would also be considered unusual — modern one-story homes designed by the University of Arkansas School of Architecture’s Design Build program, the first at 1519 Commerce St., a 1,100-square-foot home that sold for $109,000, and the second at 1805 Commerce.

Abrams, 52, an administrative assistant at General Mechanical Contractors, signed a contract with the DLRCDC for the 1,250-square-foot house April 30, 2010. She has jumped through every financial hoop NACA has required, including taking a course in home ownership and having her bank statements scrutinized every month. The three-bedroom, two-bath home has been fitted with a gleaming kitchen from IKEA — including a side-by-side refrigerator — and bamboo flooring. Abrams chose the light fixtures and the Revlon red paint on the living area wall. At her request, the wall was painted with a design that matches the blown-dandelion IKEA light fixture in the kitchen; the room is also lit by cable lights. Constructed of steel and tightly fitted, utility costs in the home aren’t expected to top $100 a month. The DLRCDC’s Grummer said the agency intentionally builds higher-end houses — those over $100,000 — to lift the neighborhood.

Abrams has prayed over the house. Her teen-aged daughter and the niece she’s raising have been eager to move into the house. She started packing her apartment at the first of January.

On Jan. 18, just as she thought everything was taken care of, she got an e-mail from NACA:

“Good Afternoon! After receipt of the third appraisal on this property, Bank of America has declined the loan due to the property being unusual, therefore being unacceptable. Bank of America would be happy to finance another home for you, but it has to be on the acceptable property list. Please advise how I can assist you in moving forward.” It was signed by the NACA agent assigned to Abrams. “I am devastated,” Abrams, 52, said Wednesday.  (Click Here To Read The Rest Of This Article)


Pettaway Revitalization Plan

Steve Luoni, Director of the Community
Design Center at University of Arkansas – Fayetteville and Scott Grummer, Director of the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation met on September 9, 2011 at the Village Commons with Pettaway neighborhood residents to begin discussing the Pettaway Neighborhood Master Plan.

UACDC and DLRCDC were awarded a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to prepare a revitalization plan for the historic 60-block Pettaway Neighborhood, one of several distinct turn of the century urban neighborhoods surrounding the Little Rock central business district.  The goal is to prepare a revitalization plan that coordinates new development investments compatible with the urban historic fabric.

In the spirit of the Obama administration’s livable comunities initiative, the plan will combine urban redevelopment with affordable housing and public transit planning.  The revitalization plan will use townscaping principles with public art to link existing and new neighborhood fabrics that create imagable places within the Pettaway neighborhood.  There are four additional key organizations committed to this project: (1) Downtown Little Rock Partnership, (2) Downtown Neighborhood Association, (3) South Main Neighborhood Association, (4) Metroplan.

The effort will consist of three activities.  First, an inventory of the neighborhood’s cultural assets will be mapped and communicated in descriptive analytic drawings.  Second, a neighborhood charrette will be held to explore planning approaches in concert with local interests.  Third, a revitalization plan with attendant renderings and place based planning vocabulary will be prepared.  The planning objective is to develop model infill vocabularies that integrate contemporary innovations in infrastructural design (e.g., “green” and shared streets, transit oriented development, urban agriculture, low impact development, live work housing configurations, etc.) with historic building fabrics.  The goal is to prepare a revitalization plan that coordinates new development investments compatible with the urban historic fabric.

Time Frame: July 2011 – June 2012:  Inventory and mapping of the neighborhood will occur in fall 2011 with architecture students enrolled at UACDC followed by a public charrette.  Preparation of the revitalization plan will occur during fall and spring semesters with architecture students and be presented to residents in April 2012.

Steve Luoni/UACDC developed the McArthur Park Master Plan.  To learn more about the Pettaway Revitalization Plan contact Scott Grummer, DLRCDC (501.372.0148), Carol Tabron, Pettaway Neighborhood Association (501.376.3406), Steve Luoni, UACDC (479.575.5108)

Neighborhood Spotlight: Downtown Little Rock CDC

Incorporated in 1992, the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation is a nonprofit organization, run by volunteers of the community, who strive to improve the quality of life for people living downtown, with a focus on providing diverse housing opportunities.  DLRCDC’s primary focus has been the historic Pettaway neighborhood east of Main Street and south of I-630, as well as the South Main Corridor (SoMa).

KATV Channel 7 recently reported that the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation and the University of Arkansas Community Design Center were awarded a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant to assist in the creation of the Pettaway Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

The grant is heralded as a great step toward the revival of the historic, 60-block Pettaway neighborhood.  The aim is to blend new development within the fabric of the turn of the century urban neighborhood.

The Arkansas Times reported earlier this year, the building of Little Rock’s first container home (“Container houses steel Pettaway’s housing boomlet: A new breed of recycled houses, or ‘steel box residence,’ help community renovation,” Leslie Peacock, 3/16/11).

Container Home

The University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture has partnered with DLRCDC to design and build two affordable, sustainable homes (Cantilevered Home and Modular Home) in the Pettaway neighborhood.  They plan to team up to design and build at least 10 more modern structures in the neighborhood.

Cantilever Home

Modular Home

For more information about the DLRCDC, you can visit,  or contact Executive Director Scott Grummer at 501.372.0148.