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LR's old Sterling building sold; apartments, offices in plans

By Jack Weatherly

This article was published August 13, 2014 at 2:26 a.m.

The old Sterling department store, the last vacant building in the 200 block of West Capitol Avenue, has been sold and will be redeveloped.

Jordan Haas, managing partner of Sterling Development Group LLC, said Tuesday that work on the 36,672-square-foot, three-story building should start in about a month. The building was finished in 1913.

The first floor will be retail, with apartments and office space on the other two floors, Haas said.

"I'm leaving one space open for a grocery or pharmacy" though the plan is still in the conceptual phase, he said.

"I live downtown. I really want there to be grocery downtown. I specifically held open a space for it."

Sharon Priest, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, said the latest news for redevelopment of downtown is "terrific news" and, along with everything else going on, means "we're starting to build some critical mass."

Priest said that the partnership approached USA Drug several years ago about putting in pharmacy in downtown, but a survey showed that it couldn't be supported.

Stratton's Market at 405 E. Third St., which offers groceries, wine and liquor, is several blocks from the Capitol Avenue developments.

Priest said she doesn't think that residents on West Capitol would walk that far to shop.

During the next year, about 200 apartments in refurbished buildings on Main and Capitol will be on the market. Work on space for the Arkansas Symphony, Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Ballet Arkansas is nearing completion in the Main Street Lofts project.

A conceptual plan for the Little Rock Technology Park calls for 500,000 square feet in new and refurbished construction.

Haas' development group paid $475,000 for the Sterling building.

The group bought the building last month from Center West Properties LLC, which had bought it in December 2006 for $375,000 from the Little Rock Catholic Diocese, according to land records.

Work is underway on the three other buildings in the block.

In the Hall and Davidson buildings, the Capitol Lofts project with 56 apartments and street-level commercial space, including chef Donnie Ferneau's restaurant, called The Still, is expected to be completed by Capitol Lofts LLC in 2015 .

Justin Patterson, owner of The Southern Gourmasian, a mobile restaurant, will use 3,000 square feet in the Sterling annex building at 219 W. Capitol for a restaurant. Bryan Rogers bought the 4,700-square-foot building in January for $185,000.

Business on 08/13/2014

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