Little Rock's oldest skyscraper sells; new owner of Main Street building plans apartments

Posted: November 9, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.

Work to renovate the Donaghey Building at 103 E. Seventh Street in Little Rock and create 152 apartments is to begin in the second quarter of 2018.

Work to renovate the Donaghey Building at 103 E. Seventh Street in Little Rock and create 152 apartments is to begin in the second quarter of 2018.

The Donaghey Building, Little Rock's oldest skyscraper, sold last week for $5.7 million, and the owner has plans to convert it into apartments.

Sitting at the corner of Main and Seventh streets, the 92-year-old building was purchased by LRMU LP, a Virginia limited partnership, on Nov. 2., according to a news release.

"Restoring the Donaghey Building to its former glory has been our goal all along," David Roos, principal at LRMU, said in a statement.

Plans are to convert the roughly 170,000-square-foot building into 152 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, which will range in sizes from about 540 square feet to 1,000 square feet, according to Colliers International, the real estate company representing LRMU.

"This transaction ensures that it will remain a fixture in our city for decades to come," Casi Runnels, broker at Colliers International, said in a statement.

The original owner, Lake Hamilton Corp., initially planned to sell the 14-story Donaghey Building to LRMU by March 2016.

There were also plans in 2006 to transform the building into condominiums.

Work on the building is estimated to begin in the second quarter of 2018 with a completion date of November 2019, according to Colliers. Once completed, plans are for it to have a fitness center, laundry room, meeting rooms and an outdoor patio with a lawn.

Parking for the building will be provided in the parking garage at Seventh and Scott streets.

"It's also expected to attract new residents to the area and will hopefully bridge the downtown redevelopment momentum that we are seeing from the River Market and Creative Corridor to SOMA," Runnels said in a statement.

This time next year more apartment units and restaurants are planned to dot Main Street, said Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of Downtown Little Rock Partnership.

"It just shows that there's demand for urban living," Holmstrom said.

Along with renovation plans, the new ownership group wants to remove the skywalk over Seventh Street that connects the Donaghey Building and the Arkansas Department of Human Services building.

Amy Webb, spokesman for the Department of Human Services, said in an email that staff members hope that work on the empty building will bring new restaurants and gyms to the area.

As for the skywalk, Webb said the state is prepared to patch the hole as soon as it's removed.

Business on 11/09/2017