Downtown Y Undergoing Renovation


One piece of the Little Rock YMCA's history is enjoying a renaissance of its own.

The 1928 YMCA building on the corner of Broadway and Sixth Street sat vacant for more than a decade before it was purchased by Brad and Shellie Barnett in 2010.

The Barnetts are restoring the building as both a living space and an office for Brad Barnett's Nationwide Insurance agency.

Shellie Barnett said she fell in love with the building after seeing its period décor, including a central plaza, relief sculptures and intricate tile work.

Some of the building's space will be leased out for retail, and one area is being renovated for a Tropical Smoothie Cafe scheduled to open in the spring. As time goes on, the Barnetts hope, more businesses can open inside.

Shellie Barnett said she had passions for green building and the resurrection of downtown Little Rock. The work that she and Brad do on the Y, she said, represents the realization of those dreams.