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The 1925 Healey and Roth Mortuary Building at 815 Main St. -- in a sweet spot between the downtown Little Rock's Creative Corridor and Southside Main Street (SoMa) -- sold Thursday for $715,000.

The two-story, 14,000-square-foot structure on the National Register of Historic Places was designed by noted Arkansas architect Charles L. Thompson, said listing agent Lauren Frederick of Haybar Real Estate.

The location "was a huge selling point," Frederick said.

The seller, real estate investor Bryan Hosto of Haybar Properties, had owned it since about 2007. The buyer, Arkansas Community Colleges, formerly the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges, took over possession and moved into 5,000 of the 7,000 square feet on the top floor about two weeks ago from its previous spot in the Little Rock train station.

After some minor renovating, the nonprofit plans to lease out the rest of the second story and the entire first floor, said Bill Stovall, executive director of Arkansas Community Colleges. The building also has a 1,000-square-foot basement, Frederick said.

"It's always been on the market," Frederick added. "We've had tenants in and out."

Part of the building was once the home of Bensky Furs. The interior, she said, has extravagant molding and a still maintains a "very elegant retail feel to it" downstairs.

Haybar renovated the building when it bought it, but not without regard to Thompson's Second Renaissance Revival design. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1982.

Charles L. Thompson and Associates -- and its predecessor and descendent firms -- is believed to be one of the most prolific architectural firms practicing in Arkansas in the late 1880s and early 1900s, producing more than 2,000 buildings. The practice continues today as Cromwell Architects Engineers Inc., which celebrated its 130th anniversary with an event Thursday night.

The selling price was $51 per square foot.

"Compared to what you're buying on the second block of Main Street, no, it's not that much, but it is in the middle of these two very vibrant areas," Frederick said. "It's going to be worth a lot more in the next five years.

"It's just time for the investors to move on to their next project," she said of Haybar. The property had been under contract since late September.

Arkansas Community Colleges is an association of 22 public technical and community colleges around the state. Stovall said several prospective tenants have expressed an interest in leasing space in the building but there's nothing in ink yet.

The space lends itself to professional office space, retail or a combination of the two, Stovall said.

"We like that it's a historic building because community colleges are all about repurposing and giving people new opportunities," he said.

Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of the Little Rock Downtown Partnership, said the location is a great addition to Main Street.

"It continues to fill in Main Street as the excitement on the north side connects to all the excitement on the south side [of Interstate 630]."

Business on 11/13/2015

Print Headline: Main Street building bought for $715,000

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