Public Relations Manager
What: Main Street Redevelopment Announcement
When: Thursday, September 6, 2012 – 10:00 a.m.
Where: Corner of Main Street & Capital Avenue
Almost a million dollars will be infused into Main Street to revitalize approximately 250,000 square feet of vacant property. The announcement of this capital from the Pulaski County Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund will be announced Thursday, September 6th at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of Main and Capital.
The Brownfield Program is an intergovernmental collaboration between Pulaski County and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. The agreement was formed in 2000 to redevelop contaminated properties in the downtowns on both sides of the Arkansas River. The Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund is funded with a $3 million Environmental Protection Agency grant for cleaning up environmentally impacted sites. The EPA Region 6 administrator for this program, Amber Perry, will be on hand to discuss the importance of this project
The project that will be discussed tomorrow consists of four buildings which comprise the west side of the 500 block of Main Street in downtown Little Rock. The twelve story building at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Main Street was built in 1909 and was originally named the State Bank Building. Immediately south of the State Bank Building is the MM Cohn Building that was built in 1941. The Arkansas Building at the corner of 6th and Main Streets was built in 1899 as the headquarters of the Pfeifer Brothers Department Store. The Arkansas Annex, also known as the Kahn building, is adjacent to the Arkansas building and was built in 1954. The buildings each has historic significance to Main Street and downtown Little Rock.
These four properties have been vacant for many years and suffer from environmental contamination which is a major barrier to putting these historic properties back in to productive use. The very first step that must be taken is the top to bottom environmental remediation of all four of the buildings so that they are once again safe for occupancy.
Once the environmental remediation is complete, work will begin to preserve, repair and restore the historic elements of these great properties. With the assistance of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the National Parks Service, the historic elements of the properties will be carefully inventoried and plans for their protection and preservation will be put into place.
The next phase of the work program will involve improvements to convert the buildings from their original uses as office buildings and department stores to a mixed use concept consisting of residential lofts on upper floors with retail spaces on the ground floors. In keeping with the vision of Mayor Mark Stodola for an Arts District and the location across the street from the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, the project will have an emphasis on retail tenants, both for-profit and non-profit, who contribute to the fine arts, visual arts, and performing arts. With the continued assistance of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership and the entire Little Rock community, Main Street Lofts, LLC expects to begin rental of the loft apartments as early as next year.