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story.lead_photo.caption The Miracle Wash property at 1424 Main St. has had three owners in the past 14 months. It sold recently for $650,000. - Photo by John Sykes Jr.

The closed Miracle Wash coin laundry on Main Street has changed hands three times in the past 14 months, selling last week for $650,000. The new owner wants to demolish the building on the property.

The speedy round of ownership changes started in September 2016 when Matt Foster, a developer who specializes in historic properties and their restoration, purchased the lot at 1424 Main St. for $500,000.

Foster had planned to build a 25,353-square-foot retail and residential development with the ground floor reserved for retail space with residential on the second -- room enough for seven businesses and five residences.

The plans also called for rooftop patios, residential balconies and an eight-vehicle garage.

Foster also had enlisted Sergeant Architecture, which submitted plans on Foster's behalf to the Capitol Zoning District Commission.

While at the time acknowledging his plans had "a lot of moving parts," Foster said demolition of the laundry was scheduled for November, a year ago.

But months passed and nothing. More months. Still nothing.

Until October.

Matt Foster Investments LLC sold the the property to an entity called Broadway Park LLC for $575,000. Broadway Park is led by Brett Pitts, chief executive officer of Beach Abstract and Guaranty Co. in Little Rock.

Foster had a simple answer as to why he sold the property.

"We couldn't make it happen financially," Foster said.

Broadway Park LLC didn't hang on to the property for nearly as long as Foster did.

It sold the property to another limited liability corporation called Tusk Holdings for $650,000. Tusk Holdings, which registered with the Arkansas secretary of state's office in July, is led by David Thompson of Hot Springs.

Thompson has a history of redeveloping downtown properties. He couldn't be reached for comment last week.

A representative of Tusk Holdings recently asked the Capitol Zoning District Commission for permission to demolish the laundry building.

"Removal of primary structures in the district require commission approval," said Boyd Maher, the commission's executive director.

The commission is responsible for, among other things, preserving the residential character of the Governor's Mansion area, preserving historic and architecturally significant structures and encouraging compatible development within the district of which the Miracle Wash laundry is a part.

Maher said he was told the owner's plans beyond demolishing the laundry are uncertain. But the owner could go forward with what Foster had proposed, which had won commission approval, Maher said.

"That permit exists irrespective of who the owner is," he said.

Boosters of the Southside Main Street project are looking forward to what becomes of the property.

"A building that is not in use just detracts from the overall area," said Hillis Schild, a member of the group's board. "We're really wondering what's going to happen. The anticipation is killing us."

SundayMonday Business on 11/26/2017

Print Headline: Old LR laundry goes round and round; no word yet from new owner

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