Anne Laidlaw’s office at the Arkansas Division of Building Authority is decorated with architectural renderings of state office buildings that were never built.
The idea of a multi-agency building northwest of the Capitol at the northeast corner of Bishop and West Third streets could be just another of them.
As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported late last month, the spending authority for a building that would house the Insurance, State Bank and Securities departments didn’t make the cut with the Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee, despite the backing of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
The state already owns the property, having paid $1.2 million to an affiliate of Bailey Holding Co. LLC in July. That means DBA is the landlord for a mix of public and private tenants.
And the state had already issued a request for qualifications for architectural and engineering design services since, in the words of Jake Bleed, spokesman for the Department of Finance & Administration, “It is immediately adjacent to the Capitol and we feel would be an excellent place for state offices.”
Thirteen firms responded, and five, all from Little Rock, were selected for interviews: WER Architects, WD&D Architects, Williams & Dean, Polk Stanley Wilcox and Allison Partners (jointly with Little Diversified of Charlotte, North Carolina).
The RFQ describes the project as an office building of approximately 100,000 SF with on-site surface parking “and possible structure parking” for 250-300 cars.