Remember KATV’s long-delayed plan to move from Fourth and Main streets downtown to Riverdale in Little Rock?
It’s finally going to happen after the first of the year, News Director Amy Sullivan confirmed to Whispers last week after Elicia Dover, host of Channel 7’s “Good Afternoon Arkansas,” mentioned a January move date in a post to a Facebook group called Arkansas Television Archives.
“We’re bidding goodbye to 401 Main in January but honoring the old building with an hourlong special,” Dover wrote, asking people to share memories and pictures from the station’s 53-year history there. The building was first dedicated in 1928 as the headquarters of Worthen Bank and was designed by architect George R. Mann, known for his work on the state Capitol, among other Little Rock classics.
Sullivan didn’t want to release details prematurely, but she said the 22,000-SF site at 10 Turtle Creek Lane near the Arkansas River will include a “state of the art” news studio that’s a clear “upgrade from where we are now.”
The move to Riverdale, into the former headquarters of the Arkansas Student Loan Guarantee Foundation, has been in the works since 2019, but was put off by the COVID pandemic and extensive renovations, station manager Mark Rose told Arkansas Business in 2020.
The two-story Riverdale headquarters was built in 2006 and acquired by KATV for $4.4 million. It includes more than 4 acres.
The Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate got city permission to raise an existing tower on the property from 75 to 100 feet, and will beam broadcast signals to the Regions Bank building downtown, which will relay them to KATV’s tall transmitter on Shinall Mountain.
The station has indicated that 401 Main, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, will go on the market after the move.