Before a standing-room only crowd at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, John Elkington, chief executive officer of Performa entertainment, presented plans to redevelop the downtown area, which includes residential, restaurant, entertainment and retail venues.
The plans were prepared and presented by Elkington at the request of Elvin W. Moon, a Los Angeles businessman and former Pine Bluff resident. Moon owns several properties in the downtown area, and he has announced previously that he is ready to spend a significant amount of money to renovate them.
Elkington is co-developer of Beale Street in downtown Memphis, and his company has been involved in several other redevelopment projects, he explained.
During Elkingtons visit Friday, he presented city leaders with a detailed plan, which calls for the downtown area to include an entertainment-retail-restaurant component; a residential and neighborhood retail component; and a hotel component.
He explained that the downtown area needs distinct entertainment, retail and restaurant venues, and festivals and other events to showcase the area.
This could be a boomtown if all forces are in place, he said. About 650,000 people live within 50 miles of Pine Bluff and 1.6 million live within 100 miles. Pine Bluff could become an attraction for individuals planning a four-day weekend vacation, he added.