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November 24, 2017

LRCVB Moves Ahead on Deal for Cromwell Building


The Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission’s $3.35 million purchase of the Cromwell Building at 101 Spring St. for the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau could be finalized within a month or so, according to Gretchen Hall, the bureau’s president and CEO.

“We’re moving posthaste,” she said. “I think the financial analysis proved to be very positive, and the location is extremely beneficial, for not only our office complex but future development for the destination — being right here in the middle of our convention corridor.”

The bureau leases the fourth floor of the building in downtown Little Rock, and will continue to occupy that floor, although it could use more space in the future, Hall said. She said the LRCVB is meeting with its attorneys and real estate broker to “hash out all those details” of the purchase.

Hall confirmed that the LRCVB would have spent about $4.3 million in rent over the next two decades — a conservative estimate based on rates going up only 2 or 3 percent. Flake & Kelley Commercial of Little Rock provided a financial analysis for the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion commission, which approved the purchase Tuesday.

Hall said owning the building could mean an additional $4.88 million in revenue over the next two decades, based on 90 percent of the building being occupied. The building is 100 percent occupied now.

Another $40,000 could be generated by freeing up space at the Statehouse Convention Center where some LRCVB staff resides. Hall said the deal offers an opportunity to move the bureau’s sales team and some of its operations team to the Cromwell Building.

“Then we could redevelop, in the convention center, the location they’re in right now. We could redevelop that into rentable meeting rooms at that end of the building in the future,” she said.

Hall emphasized that there isn’t a plan in place yet to renovate the convention center space, which on street level under the ballroom. But she said it’s an option the LRCVB will have.

The Cromwell Building is the headquarters of Little Rock firm Cromwell Architects Engineers. Cromwell plans to move next year to a 50,000-SF renovated space at Sixth and Shall streets, east of Interstate 30 and south of Heifer International’s headquarters.

Cromwell built the Cromwell Building 40 years ago. At the time, the area needed major redevelopment. The firm has now launched a new redevelopment effort at Sixth and Shall, where it has purchased five tracts. 

The Bank of England offered $3.35 million for the Cromwell Building in July. The LRCVB had a right-of-first refusal clause in its lease that gave it an option to buy.

Hall said the LRCVB’s administrative and marketing teams were housed in the Robinson Center, which closed for renovations two years ago. The bureau was aware the design plans did not include enough office space for those teams to move back once Robinson reopens on Nov. 12.

The Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission’s $3.35 million purchase of the Cromwell Building at 101 Spring St. for the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau could be finalized within a month or so, according to Gretchen Hall, the bureau’s president and CEO.

“We’re moving posthaste,” she said. “I think the financial analysis proved to be very positive, and the location is extremely beneficial, for not only our office complex but future development for the destination — being right here in the middle of our convention corridor.”

The bureau leases the fourth floor of the building in downtown Little Rock, and will continue to occupy that floor, although it could use more space in the future, Hall said. She said the LRCVB is meeting with its attorneys and real estate broker to “hash out all those details” of the purchase.

Hall confirmed that the LRCVB would have spent about $4.3 million in rent over the next two decades — a conservative estimate based on rates going up only 2 or 3 percent. Flake & Kelley Commercial of Little Rock provided a financial analysis for the Little Rock Advertising & Promotion commission, which approved the purchase Tuesday.

Hall said owning the building could mean an additional $4.88 million in revenue over the next two decades, based on 90 percent of the building being occupied. The building is 100 percent occupied now.

Another $40,000 could be generated by freeing up space at the Statehouse Convention Center where some LRCVB staff resides. Hall said the deal offers an opportunity to move the bureau’s sales team and some of its operations team to the Cromwell Building.

“Then we could redevelop, in the convention center, the location they’re in right now. We could redevelop that into rentable meeting rooms at that end of the building in the future,” she said.

Hall emphasized that there isn’t a plan in place yet to renovate the convention center space, which on street level under the ballroom. But she said it’s an option the LRCVB will have.

The Cromwell Building is the headquarters of Little Rock firm Cromwell Architects Engineers. Cromwell plans to move next year to a 50,000-SF renovated space at Sixth and Shall streets, east of Interstate 30 and south of Heifer International’s headquarters.

Cromwell built the Cromwell Building 40 years ago. At the time, the area needed major redevelopment. The firm has now launched a new redevelopment effort at Sixth and Shall, where it has purchased five tracts. 

The Bank of England offered $3.35 million for the Cromwell Building in July. The LRCVB had a right-of-first refusal clause in its lease that gave it an option to buy.

Hall said the LRCVB’s administrative and marketing teams were housed in the Robinson Center, which closed for renovations two years ago. The bureau was aware the design plans did not include enough office space for those teams to move back once Robinson reopens on Nov. 12.

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