by Max Brantley
Rett Tucker of Moses Tucker Real Estate says his company's joint venture with the Doyle Rogers Company to redevelop the old Blass department store at Fourth and Main has closed on $20 million in financing with IberiaBank this morning and construction will start Aug. 15.
The Mann project — named for the building architect George Mann — is to be completed June 2013. It includes 90,000 square feet in the building at Fourth and Main and a three-story annex. Some 65,000 square feet is already pre-leased by Arkansas Child Support Enforcement. It will also have 8,000 square feet of retail space and 19 loft apartments. A 400-space parking deck is to be built on the west side of the buildings.
Other key participants: AMR Architects and Clark Contractors. Conventional loans and new market and historic tax credits are financing the work.
Ryan Lasiter of Doyle Rogers Co. fills in some of the nitty gritty:
Our general contractor — Clark Contractors is beginning the interior demolition and construction this week for our new Mann Project — it will no longer be named or marketed as the Blass project, even though it historically remains the Blass Department Store building(s).
Our partnership (a joint venture between DOYLE ROGERS COMPANY & MOSES TUCKER REAL ESTATE) closed our financing through iberiabank last Friday and should start to see a more visible construction project underway very soon.
Clark is the contractor for the main “Blass” (or now Mann) building at 4th & Main and the annex building will be residential and retail. Our general contractor for that project is Central Construction Group. The Mann name comes from the building’s architect, George Mann (same architect as the State Capitol, the Rose Building, and many other local historic structures).
We are glad — very glad to have our financing and project in place, this will provide many jobs to the local economy, not to mention the asset it will be to downtown and to Main Street.
The project and its ownership is led by Tommy Lasiter and Jimmy Moses, both investors and developers in the new project, which is now owned by Mann Project, LLC. Doyle Rogers Company will manage and lease the main building (7 story — flagship Blass store) and Moses Tucker will manage the residential component (annex).