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August 20, 2018
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Downtown restoration projects could be completed by fall 2018

By Tia Lyons
This article was published December 30, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

Several restoration/remodeling projects are expected to continue or get under way in the El Dorado Commercial Historic District, all with a completion goal of late summer or early fall 2018.

Earlier this month, the El Dorado Historic District Commission signed off on four Certificates of Appropriateness for the projects.

Two of the COAs gave the go-ahead for the demolition and new-construction project for a commercial and residential space at 215 E. Main, which formerly housed Pat’s Glass.

A new three-story building will go up in the place of the existing building and mirror the structure’s footprint, save a basement.

The bottom floor will provide 2,500 feet of commercial space, while the upper level will be home to the new Lofts on Main, a residential development for five, extended-stay units.

At the helm of the project is Virginia-based real estate developer Pete Dunn, who has launched similar projects in El Dorado in recent years — including the Armstrong Building, which houses PJ’s Coffee, the El Dorado Creamery and other offices; the El Dorado Federal Center; and plans for the old Warner Brown facility.

Local firm CADM Architecture, Inc., is developing the design of the new building.

On Dec. 14, CADM architect Blake Dunn, no relation to Pete Dunn, said demolition could begin in January and take up to a month to complete.

Ideally, construction would take less than a year to complete, with work wrapped up by October, Dunn said then.

Smart Revocable Trust

He said CADM is also working on another such project a block east of the future location of Lofts on Main.

Dunn told historic district commissioners that the work will convert the building at 313 - 315 E. Main into a single-family residential unit.

He presented a COA for Smart Revocable Trust, explaining that property owners Dr. Steve and Michelle Smart intend to use the remodeled building as “a potential downsizing residence.”

“So, it will be there if they decide to move downtown (in the future),” Dunn said.

He said the existing building, which once housed the El Dorado News-Times, will be gutted and a new fire-rated wall will replace the existing party wall between the building and next-door neighbor, Stone and Sawyer PLLC law firm.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure within the commercial historic district — meaning that it is at least 50 years old and has not been significantly altered from its original appearance.

Dunn said there will be exposures on the northern and southern facades, and the project will include repair work and a replacement of the carrara glass.

The skirting surrounding the bottom of the carrara glass will be also be removed.

Proposed work on the southern facade includes the addition of two windows and a second door that will lead to a small seating area, Dunn said.

“If they have a live-in assistant, they will have a private way to come in and out of the residence,” he said.

The existing glass will be replaced with insulated glazing to improve the thermal performance.

“It may require changing the frame, but it will be the same configuration,” Dunn told commissioners.

A wooden door will replace the aluminum door on the northern facade to offer privacy and a more residential look and feel, he said.

Dunn said the Arkansas Department of Health was expected to approve plumbing plans before the end of the month.

The timeline for the project is similar to that of Lofts of Main, Dunn said.

“They’re ready to go. They would like to have it completed before the (downtown) festivals in October,” Dunn said. “I don’t anticipate that being a problem.”

‘Old revenue office’

A conditional, post-COA was approved for work on the building at 103 - 115 S. Washington.

Buddy McAdams presented the COA on behalf of Booomtown Properties LLC, which he co-owns with Jim Phillips.

McAdams said the name of the business may change, but the work on the building, which formerly housed the local offices of the state revenue and motor vehicles departments.

Plans for the building’s exterior include restoration of the storefront facade and the installation of new display windows at the pedestrian/sidewalk levels.

McAdams said signage for a new tenant — Cole’s Jewelers — will be added to both sides of the corner at South Washington and Cedar.

Boomtown is also looking to update the existing metal canopy, McAdams said.

Work had already begun on the project, and McAdams said “there’s been lots and lots of interest” from potential tenants since the work started approximately three months earlier.

Commissioner Dick James said the building could probably accommodate two or three tenants.

Commissioner Teresa Golliher asked if plans called for windows on the Cedar Street side of the building.

McAdams said Boomtown is exploring options that could open up about 14 more inches in the space, which originally had exposed brick on the bottom, per old photographs.

He noted that the plaster there has weathered.

“It allows moisture to get in, and it freezes, and it gets cracked even more,” McAdams said.

He also told commissioners that a roof replacement is likely in the future, once all of the other work has been completed.

Commissioners approved a COA upon the condition that McAdams return with specifications for the new signage.

The potential roof repairs were also included in the COA.

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.

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