|City/Town: • Little Rock|
|Location Class: • Government • Hotel/Motel • School|
|Built: • Unknown | Abandoned: • 2008|
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered • For Sale • Gutted|
|Photojournalist: • Ginger Beck|
This empty eight story building looms along the side of I30: it is the former Little Rock Job Corps center. The building has been a crumbling reminder of waste, with a history of break-ins, theft and squatting. After several unsuccessful attempts to bring a Job Corps center to the city in the early 1970s, a JCC finally opened in Little Rock in the former Red Carpet Inn in 1981. In 2008, the center moved from there to its current location. It is now owned by LEDIC and has a full time caretaker, locked tight to any trespassers.
This wasn’t always the case; LEDIC had big plans for the building. In 2016, a letter of support was submitted to the Little Rock Board of Directors for an application to the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) that proposed a mixed-income housing development using Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to rehabilitate/convert the existing structure to a multifamily complex designated for elderly residents.
The developer proposed to rehabilitate and convert the building into a 77 unit mixed-income multi-family complex, including 16 market rate units, all designated for elderly residents, 62 years and older. The proposed $5.5 million renovation to the complex would have consisted of 73, one bedroom units (approximately 789 square-feet/unit) and four, two-bedroom units (approximately 1,015 square-feet/unit) with proposed monthly rents at an average of $678 and $770 respectively, including all paid utilities, and an on-site laundry facility.
The property would have also included a community room, gazebo and community garden. In addition, the property would have met and exceed minimum design standards and include energy efficiency measures. Post renovation, the property would have had an extended useful life of approximately 50+ years. The estimated construction period was 12 – 14 months with a final placed in service date of 2018. The proposed project included a variety of services for the tenants, including computer classes, meals, and limited transportation.
This plan, nor a proposed plan in 2013 to turn the building into a home for pregnant teens, never came to fruition. Objections from the Pettaway Neighborhood Association has requested it be demolished, which is not an easy task. The powdered asbestos, which can be sealed, provides a much larger risk if the building were to be brought down.
The potential for renovation exists. If a buyer is available and able to propose an agreement that the city and the neighborhood association approves, what many refer to as an eyesore can once again become a part of downtown’s renovation and revival.
DO NOT ATTEMPT to access this private property. It is locked and monitored by an on-site caretaker and video surveillance. Interested parties who wish to consider buying the property need to contact LEDIC.
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