Shameless Plug – Barber Row

I am big on urban infill.  As a matter of fact I am working on a few infill projects in my home town.  The project is described here in an excerpt from an article I posted below. –

“He’s also working on a re-plat and zoning change on land along Barber Street that will eventually be a row of a dozen new free-standing two- and three-story houses he’s calling Barber Row. The houses are to be between 1,800 and 3,000 square feet and should sell for between $225,000 and $423,000, Curtis said.”

The article I have linked to talks more about the larger neighborhood and my realtor’s mission for the area.  It is an interesting read that includes information on the first institution of higher learning in Arkansas.

It is the first of a series of articles about these developments by Cyd King.  Here is a link to the article.

I also reposted it below.

And if you are looking for historic property in Central Arkansas contact www.tonycurtisassociates.com.  I’m almost positive the man is a walking encyclopedia on Central Arkansas History.

Article Repost:

 

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Local real estate broker Tony Curtis wants to designate a new historic district in part of Hanger Hill, an area east of Interstate 30 near downtown Little Rock.

The move would enable property owners to use state and federal tax credits for restoration of structures within the district, thus turning the tide for a neighborhood struggling to keep up with ongoing revitalization efforts west of the interstate.

Curtis, owner of Tony Curtis Realtors, sold three new houses and a couple of older ones in the area over the last 12 months and has delved deeply into the history of the area, once the home of St. John’s College. He doesn’t live in the area — he has his own refurbished historic home on Louisiana Street — but he sees value in the locale, planning to build houses priced in the neighborhood of $230,000.

“Rarely do I see something that I think needs to come down,” he said of older properties. “Everything, with enough money and time and understanding, can be rebuilt.”

Buzz about the area has reached those in the business in a position to help promote the area.

“When I’ve talked to folks about what’s going on over in Hanger Hill, and they see the beautiful new homes that have been built over there, they get excited about the possibilities that it could mean for the future,”said Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.

Hanger Hill is bordered by Ninth Street to the north, Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery on the south, railroad tracks on the east, and Interstate 30 on the west. The name of “Hanger Hill” is believed to have come from the Hanger Addition, which was formed when a prominent Little Rock figure, Peter Hanger, subdivided land adjacent to his home in 1869.

The area Curtis wants declared historic is within Hanger Hill — bordered on the north by 14th Street. More than half of the 120 to 140 properties in the desired area must meet the standards for a contributing historic property before the area can be deemed historic, he said.

There’s already a Hanger Hill Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. It encompasses both sides of the 1500 block of Welch Street, said Brian Minyard, a planner with the city. The block represents the post-Victorian heyday of concrete block construction and the transition from the Queen Anne architectural style to the Craftsman style in a primarily working-class neighborhood, according to the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.

Curtis’ plans are all talk at this point, but if they pan out, the new district will have to be called something else. He proposed using the names Dodge and Masonic, which are the two prominent subdivisions in Hanger Hill.

R.L. Dodge was a doctor, banker, Little Rock mayor and longtime treasurer for St. John’s College, the first institution of higher education chartered in Arkansas. Children of parents in the Masonic fraternity went there for free; others paid tuition to attend.

The Masonic Addition, one of the city’s oldest, is a 95-acre tract that was subdivided and became home to some of the most prominent of the city’s founders — lawyers and lawmakers Luke E. Barber and John L. McClellan, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Elbert H. English, architects George R. Mann and Charles Thompson and businessman Raymond Rebsamen, among many others.

All were also Arkansas Freemasons and featured in the book They Made a Difference … Arkansas Freemasons, penned by a group of local Mason fraternity members.

St. John’s College sat on 10 acres adjacent to the Masonic Addition. Classes were held there from 1859 until it was destroyed by fire in 1880. During the Civil War, Union forces took the campus and converted the school to a hospital.

In its vibrancy, the Masonic Addition underwent a housing and population boom. But most of it was paved over by the Interstate 630 interchange with Interstate 30.

“It destroyed the neighborhood. There’s no doubt about it.” Curtis said. “It became the forgotten neighborhood.”

His first step to establishing the district is to have the area surveyed for historic significance.

Ann Ballard Bryan, who teaches historic preservation and history of architecture, art and interiors at the University of Central Arkansas, will lead a class of up to a dozen students to do the research this fall. They’ll take photos of the properties and provide a narrative about the history of the buildings — what they are, who built them and when, significant residents, architectural style and any alterations made to the structures.

“I feel like that there were some spectacular architecture over there, and I think as Little Rock decided to move west, the east part of town did get neglected,” Bryan said. “Now that downtown is going through this resurgence, it’s getting more of the attention that it deserves.”

The Little Rock Historic District Commission reviews all potential National Register historic districts prior to consideration by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s State Review Board, said Minyard, the planner. From there, it goes to the federal government for review and approval.

One of the houses Curtis sold in Hanger Hill last year was to Cheryl Grappe at 1007 Barber St. She and her husband moved from Saline County to Hanger Hill when their last child left home because they enjoy activities downtown and bicycle the trails nearby.

“It’s convenient to everything — the interstate, the airport, work, all the new restaurants, River Market farmers market,” she said.

She grew up in Little Rock and she remembers nearby Ninth Street “as being associated with hookers, gang members, crime, theft or you’re going to get shot. And it is so much not that.”

Grappe and her husband sit on their porch in relative quiet.

“We never see anything. We never hear anything. And I’m in and out at all hours of the day. There’s not anything that I’m worried about, really,” Grappe said. They’re talking about investing in more properties in Hanger Hill.

“We like the diversity of Hanger Hill,” she added.

A sign went up recently announcing two new “vintage” houses going up on empty lots at 1002 and 1004 Welch near the intersection with East 10th Street in Hanger Hill. Curtis, who is marketing the houses, described them as “New Orleans” style– long and narrow dwellings with large porches and interior/side courtyards. Prices will be around $230,000.

He’s also working on a re-plat and zoning change on land along Barber Street that will eventually be a row of a dozen new free-standing two- and three-story houses he’s calling Barber Row. The houses are to be between 1,800 and 3,000 square feet and should sell for between $225,000 and $423,000, Curtis said.

The three new houses Curtis sold in Hanger Hill were also on Barber.