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Multi-million dollar deal at Chaffee Historic District to include new commercial, residential space

Plans are to turn the sold barracks into 25 commercial spaces, 72 apartment buildings and three restaurants.
Credit: KFSM

FORT SMITH, Ark. — The Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority Board of Trustees has approved the sale of 21 buildings, a gravel parking lot and 0.75 acres in the Chaffee Historic District. The move takes FCRA’s holdings in that district to a mere five warehouse buildings.

The board during Thursday’s (May 20) meeting approved the sale of 19 barracks buildings on Buckhorn Street and a gravel parking lot Lloyd Sumpter with Rival Commercial RE for $513,000, or $27,000 per barrack. They approved the sale of two buildings at 7428 Ellis St. and 11821 Darby Ave. and 0.75 acres to Sumpter as well for $150,000. Sumpter will take possession of Buckhorn Street with the transaction of the barracks, said Daniel Mann, FCRA executive director and CEO. 

Sumpter plans to turn the barracks into 25 commercial spaces, 72 apartment buildings and three restaurants that will fit into a planned project Rival started with the purchase of a property at Ellis and Ward streets, the first of the two-story barracks in the historic district to be sold. 

Sumpter is turning that property into commercial and retail space, which fits with the planned zoning district (PZD) passed by the FCRA board and Fort Smith Board of Directors in 2020. The historic/mixed use designation allows for restaurants, retail and office space and residential dwellings among other uses, but would not allow for warehouses, Mann said. The PZD provides all properties inside the boundary a single set of zoning guidelines and end-uses, which will make it easier and faster for business owners to get building permits from the city of Fort Smith, Mann said. 

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