ROGERS -- A downtown development is breathing life into a building more than 100 years old and bringing several Northwest Arkansas eateries under one roof.
The $3.2 million project has transformed the Dollar Saver into The 1907, and will be a "shot in the arm" for downtown Rogers, Mayor Greg Hines wrote in an email.
The building was originally Rogers Wholesale Grocery and later became Griffin Grocery. It became the Dollar Saver in 1972 and Red Brick 1907 LLC purchased the building in 2015 for $600,000, according to Benton County land records.
Source: Staff report
"It's a textbook example for the type of mixed-use development needed for long term success," Hines wrote. "I believe this will take our revitalization to the next level."
The 30,000-square-foot building is designed in an open marketplace style. Eleven apartments will be upstairs.
Morgan Hooker of High Street Development had the idea of reviving The Dollar Saver at 101 E. Walnut St.
Hooker remembers walking to a downtown hardware store and buying BBs and Jolly Rancher push ups during the summers he spent in Fordyce with his grandparents. Now, he sees how the combination of trees and sidewalks are designed to draw people into a hardware store or coffee shop.
Bringing that passion to this project led him to cold call John Allen and his wife, Andrea, of Onyx Coffee.
Allen says expansion was only a thought in the back of his mind. But when the opportunity presented itself to work alongside other Northwest Arkansas business owners, now friends, the Allens didn't think twice about relocating their entire production facility to the new downtown location.
Onyx's operation will dominate the building with its roastery, training lab, consulting lab and storage.
High Street Development and Onyx co-own the building.
The 1907 will house restaurants and bakeries that Onyx has partnered with or is working with now. Doughp!, a new bakery, will be operated by two Fayetteville pastry chefs who have been providing Onyx with all its baked goods. Loblolly Creamery will open a Northwest Arkansas shop and continue to supply ice cream for Onyx. The Foreman Bar will be run by Onyx's former menu developer. The owners of Strongboat Provisions and the Heirloom restaurant are close friends with Allen and moved into the space when he passed on word of the project.
"We started looking at what we could put in there," Hooker said. "We always want to have the best of the breed in every category."
The building itself, however, was not able to safely house businesses.
"You'd go in the basement and it had standing water in it," Hooker began. "I'd go in it and all the skylights had plastic covering the underside and top so they wouldn't leak down onto merchandise. Through the mezzanine they had crafted this elaborate tarp system so when the water leaked through the roof it would catch in this tarp that was nailed to the rafter and funnel it into these trash barrels. Then they would somehow dump those trash cans."
When Hooker took architect Bradley Edwards on a walk through the project, disrepair was apparent, he said. But the state of the building was never a stumbling block for moving forward, Hooker said.
"Another decade in its unrepaired condition would mean certain collapse," Hooker said. "We knew we needed to do something with the building because it was an important part of downtown Rogers. I guess in any job or work you get discouraged or frustrated. You step back, take a look at where you are and figure out the best route forward."
The outside of the building has gone untouched to preserve the limestone headers and pressed red brick AO Clark, original designer and builder, incorporated into many of the structures he built through downtown Rogers, according to the Rogers Historical Museum.
"We're trying to make it true to the downtown character," Edwards said. "We tried our best to keep the building as period as possible."
The effort, Hooker said, couldn't have been completed without all those involved in the project.
"It'll be something we all look back on and are really proud of," Hooker said.
Melissa Turpin, co-owner of Honeycomb Kitchen Shop at 213 W. Walnut St., said she is excited The 1907 is opening down the street.
"That building coming back to life is going to add that much more to downtown Rogers," she said. "We have a good foundation already. This is going to boost the economy that much more."
Members of Main Street Rogers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history and promoting the growth of downtown, are excited about the potential of success.
"I think it could be a catalyst to the changes already on the way," said Shey Bland, executive director. "It's exciting because so much of it is on the horizon and we're seeing some of those things happening instead of people dreaming or talking about them."
NW News on 02/12/2018
Print Headline: Rogers development to breathe life into Dollar Saver, downtown