Rock Capital Real Estate of Little Rock on Friday said it is buying the historic Hall and Davidson buildings at 201-215 W. Capitol Ave. with plans to develop a boutique hotel.
General Counsel Dan Roda told Arkansas Business the project is expected to cost between $16 million and $17 million. Plans include a bar, restaurant and meeting spaces designed to attract nonprofits and startups.
Rock Capital expects to close on the acquisition in April or May.
The group said AMR Architects Inc. and Wittenberg Delony & Davidson Architects, both of Little Rock, have completed preliminary architectural work, and they said construction would take 12-18 months.
They have also retained Entegrity Energy Partners and Brown Engineers LLC, both of Little Rock, for the project, and applied for funds from the county's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
Rock Capital was founded by principals of Rock Capital Group of Little Rock and Capital Real Estate & Trust. Its executive team is Roda, Danny Brickey, Jordan Haas and Blake Smith. The hotel would be the group's first development.
"This is a perfect project for us, one that allows us to preserve a piece of Little Rock's history while modernizing it for future generations to enjoy," Haas said in a news release.
Other entities are involved. ReImagine Hospitality Corp. of Bryant is an equity partner and co-developer. The Shulte Hospitality Group of Louisville, Kentucky, will manage hotel operations. Shulte also manages the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville, which is owned by the Sam Alley family. The Alleys are equity partners in the Little Rock project too, according to Rock Capital.
The Hall and Davidson buildings are a Pulaski County Brownfields site, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The developers plan to preserve them and use tax credits available to historic properties.
The properties consist of a five-story 41,672-SF main building and an adjoining three-story 19,752-SF annex.
The buildings are currently in the name of Capitol Lofts LLC, controlled by developer Scott Reed, who bought them for $850,000 from Robert Davidson. Reed planned to redevelop the property for 56 apartments and office and retail use but never did. He put the buildings up for sale in 2015, initially listing the Hall Building for $2.3 million and the Davidson Building for $895,000.
Along with other partners, Rock Capital has an interest in the nearby Moore/Mathis Building at 521 Center St. and the Sterling Building at 229 W. Capitol Ave.
In the news release, the group thanked its predecessors in downtown redevelopment, including Moses Tucker Real Estate and Flake & Kelley Commercial, both of Little Rock, where Haas and Smith previously worked.
But Smith added, "A changing of the guard is inevitable. The next generation is coming, and we are claiming our position."