The Historic Blass Department Store on Fourth and Main in Little Rock has been redeveloped and was formally dedicated Thursday. Governor Mike Beebe and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola were speakers at the opening ceremony. The 22 million dollar Mann on Main project is part of the ongoing effort to revive the once-thriving area.
“For the last 30 years it’s been a little bit dormant but there’s lots of activity going on down there now. There’s close to 80 million dollars worth of construction by a private development going on. There will be 256 apartments on Main Street by the spring of next year. The Art’s organizations, the Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Arkansas and Repertory Theater are all congregating to help develop the creative corridor,” Stodola said.
Founded in 1871 as Gus Blass Company Department Store, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The seven story, 90 thousand square feet structure will house the Office of Child Support Enforcement, the Arkansas Crime Information Center, and the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy.
The project includes the adjoining annex building which will contain 19 residential units that will be available for lease by next spring and Bruno’s Little Italy restaurant is expected to open there later this month. Both buildings will have street-level retail space available as well.
“I think people are beginning to discover that Main Street is the most important street in not only the city, but the state of Arkansas,” Stodola said.