LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — An old skyscraper in downtown Little Rock is being brought back to life thanks to a new owner purchasing the 170-thousand square foot building.
The 92-year-old Donaghey building on Main Street has been vacant for nearly 10 years. LRMU, LP, a Virginia-based limited partnership purchased the building and plans to turn it into a 152-unit apartment complex.
Gabe Holmstrom of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership said this is good news for Main Street.
“With the 150 plus apartments that they’re putting there, that’s going to be more people living downtown and specifically on Main Street,” Holmstrom said. “Putting a building like this, in this block of Main, it’s going serve as a connector between SoMa and the business district of main Street.”
He also said more people choosing to live downtown means businesses are more likely to fill up the empty store fronts along Main Street.
"By adding these additional units to the downtown footprint, that's going to create additional opportunity for other businesses to come here,” Holmstrom said.
Blue Sail Coffee moved into its Main Street location eight months ago and recently had to roll back their hours.
“Most business days it’s pretty steady until five when business kind of slows down,” Barista Bryon Burrell said. "A lot of people that we get aren't residentials. They commute to work."
Burrell said putting apartments in just a few blocks down will help to bring in regulars.
"People living inside of downtown is likely to increase our hours here at night,” he said. “So, if there's actually people living here then that's the possibility of residential customers."
Three Fold moved into its Main Street location six weeks ago. Owner Lisa Zhang said business is better than ever and the addition of the apartment complex will bring more traffic to her restaurant in the morning.
"The whole Main Street will be very beautiful and like a big city. I definitely can imagine the future of this place, so very good plan, very good development,” Zhang said.
Holmstrom said this addition helps create urban density.
“That gets us one step further to bringing another grocery store downtown, which is always part of the discussion,” Holmstrom said.
Once complete, the Donaghey Building will feature amenities such as a fitness center, a laundry room, meeting rooms and outdoor patio with a lawn.
Construction is expected to start in the second quarter of 2018.