Main Street Reclamation Gains Momentum

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012 12:00 am  

Principals in Moses Tucker Real Estate and Doyle Rogers Co., both of Little Rock, are partnering in the work on former Blass Department Store and its neighbor, another building used by the Blass company.

Both buildings are about 100 years old, according to Jimmy Moses, president of Moses Tucker.

“We have to gut most of what was in there, and we’ll start the redevelopment once that work is done,” Moses said.

The partnership is also constructing a 400-car parking garage behind the main store building.

The former department store, which is also called the Mann Building, is a seven-story 140,000-SF facility that was designed by Arkansas architect George Mann. Mann also designed the Arkansas Capitol building.

The neighboring building is three stories high and 30,000 SF. The redevelopers are calling it the Mann Annex.

Clark Contractors of Little Rock is renovating the Mann Building and parking garage. Central Construction, also of Little Rock, is overseeing work on the Mann Annex. AMR Architects of Little Rock is handling the design for overhauling both. IberiaBank of Lafayette, La., financed the work.

Jimmy Moses said he’d had his eye on the Mann-designed building for about 20 years, but it wasn’t until about a month ago that his investor group, Mann Properties LLC, bought the facility from Doyle Rogers and his family. The owners of Mann Properties are Chris Moses, Jimmy Moses, Rett Tucker, Tommy Lasiter, Rog Rogers and Barbara Hoover.

The Mann Building has “kind of an early commercial high-rise look,” Moses said. He said he thought the concrete structure was “one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Little Rock” due to its style and “handsome ornamentation.”

The ground floors of both buildings will be retail space. About 95,000 SF of the Mann Building will serve as office space.

Tenants lined up to rent office space in the Mann Building include the state’s regional headquarters for the Office of Child Support Enforcement and a division of the state’s finance department, Moses said. The Mann Annex will also contain 19 loft apartments.
Moses already is an owner of about 75 downtown apartments.

“There’s a pretty good demand for new and newly renovated apartments in downtown Little Rock,” Moses said. “I think people like living, particularly in historical buildings, in downtown Little Rock.”



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