by Max Brantley
The Poultry Federation is planning a new Chicken House.
Chicken House is Arkansas political slang for the poultry lobby's headquarters building at 4th and Victory. It was once known as the Arkansas Poultry Federation but renamed after merger with organizations in Oklahoma and Missouri.
Marvin Childers, the president of the organization, said the group had "major issues" with pipes embedded in the concrete foundation and the roof and had decided repair and remodeling were so expensive that replacement was in order. Final plans aren't completed and so he said the group didn't have a firm cost estimate yet. Here are details from the federation's application for a demolition permit and review of design plans.
I stumbled across this news at the Capitol Zoning District Commission, which is preparing to approve a rule change along the Victory Street corridor that will accommodate the new construction. It isn't expected to be controversial. Setback rules for the neighborhood were adopted after the building was built more than 25 years ago, Childers said. The building is close to the street. New rules for Victory, where most of the buildings are close to the street, will allow continuation of a similar footprint. A Commission spokesman said the neighborhood setback rules were devised originaly when more residential uses remained, but most of the structures have changed to commercial uses and a smaller setback is appropriate.
The Chicken House has been the scene of many a momentous rump legislative meeting/cocktail hour where some serious work of the legislature has gotten done.