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Historic army barracks in Fort Chaffee to be renovated

A real estate developer is moving forward with plans to revitalize the historic Fort Chaffee area.

FORT SMITH, Ark — A real estate developer is moving forward with plans to revitalize the historic Fort Chaffee area.

“The Barracks project is the largest project in this area right now," said Lori Robertson, director of marketing with the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority.

The Barracks at Chaffee is a $20 million, 121-thousand square foot project. The army barracks were originally built in 1941 and will now be part of a mixed-use space.

“28 retail restaurant spaces and up to 72 apartments,” said developer Lloyd Sumpter with Rival CRE. The apartments will be one or two bedrooms with retail and shopping spaces below.

“We envision that the historic area is going to be an entertainment hub,” Robertson said.

The barracks are not only getting an update, the surrounding area is as well. Developers are creating a trail for visitors and residents.

“A multiuse trail. A bike walking trail. It’ll be 1,200 feet long.” Sumpter said. The trail will connect the barracks to the Fort Chaffee Historical District. That trail system will also have murals showing the history of Fort Chaffee. 

“The Barracks of Chafee will end up being a tourist destination with our history and everything We’re having to offer. So, I can’t imagine being at a better location,” Sumpter said.

Developers are currently in the planning phase of the project. However, they expect everything to be complete in two to three years.

Developers say they've already seen over 25 businesses interested in moving into the new development.