Main Street building downtown Little Rock, Arkansas

County Brownfields Program Celebrates 10 Years since Main Street Building Clean-up

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the cleanup of 315 Main Street in Downtown Little Rock. The building, formerly Gus Blass Wholesale, was built in 1902. It was a department store serving as a central downtown shopping center and one of the first high-rise buildings downtown.

After many years as a downtown hub, it was abandoned in the 1970s and sat vacant on Main Street in downtown Little Rock for 40 years. That is until K Lofts purchased the building and the Pulaski County Brownfields Program partnered with the new owners to clean up the historic property and bring new life to Main Street.

Pulaski County Brownfields assessed and cleaned up hazardous materials sitting in the vacant building, and provided a $275,000 loan for the project.  Lead paint, asbestos, and biological waste were removed from the building making the space safe and ready to be reused.

“This revitalization has led to the healthy growth of businesses on Main Street including restaurants, shops, and lofts,” Community Services Director Fredrick Love said.

Scott Reed, owner of K Loft, LLC said the building now called Mulberry Flats, is a historic building renovated under the National Park Service’s guidance.

“Thanks in part to the success of the Brownfields grant program, the former K Loft building on Main Street is now full of residential tenants and one of the most popular sports bars in Downtown Little Rock,” Gabe Holmstrom, executive director at Downtown Little Rock Partnership said.

“Programs like this are essential to the rehabilitation of our city’s historic fabric, providing new places for people to live, work and play,” Reed said.

“Mulberry Flats (315 Main) is credited as the first domino that began Little Rock’s Main Street revitalization and is a fantastic example of what Brownfields redevelopment can accomplish through public/private partnership,” Josh Fout, the Brownfields administrator during the project said.

Green America’s Capitals grants, Arkansas Natural Resource Commission grants, and private funding in addition to Brownfields funding provided $3,175,000 for the redevelopment of the building. The cleanup was completed on May 25, 2012.