Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brownfield loan goes to downtown block

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

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Developer Scott Reed, who purchased four buildings on the west side of the 500 block of Main Street, is getting a boost from the EPA in the form of a $916,000 loan from the Pulaski County Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund to get rid of asbestos, lead paint and other environmental dangers in the buildings so they can be turned into lofts and arts-related businesses.

Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, Mayor Mark Stodola and North Little Rock mayoral candidate and director of commerce Joe Smith talked this morning about the Brownfield Fund's help in marketing properties that are otherwise too expensive to develop in both Little Rock and North Little Rock's old downtowns. Stodola said the EPA was helping to create a "renaissance" in downtown, making it possible for buildings that have been empty since the 1980s to put back into use.

Wooten Epes, speaking for Reed, said the developer paid $1.5 million for the buildings, which will be restored in consultation with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program and the National Parks Service for use as lower-income residences, giving investors tax credits. The lofts will be developed for all income levels, including some low income. Epes said the entire project will represent an investment of $8 million, not counting the federal remediation dollars.

The four buildings to be rehabbed include the 12-story building at the corner of 5th and Main (1909, originally named the State Bank Building), the MM Cohn Building (1941), the Arkansas Building at the corner of 6th and Main (1899, built as the headquarters of the Pfeifer Brothers Department Store) and the Arkansas Annex, also known as the Kahn building (1954).

Reed also got a Brownfield Loan to restore a building in the 400 block of Main Street as the K-Lofts, where Porter's Jazz Club was located for a while. The lofts have not yet been constructed. He is also building four houses with a loan 267,334 in Neighborhood Stabilization Act I funds from the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority, but has yet to sign a draft contract with ADFA renegotiated after he had to pull out of a larger contract for 30 houses. He has until March 20, 2013, to complete the homes.

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