The Citizen’s Building, commonly known as the First Federal Building at 723 Central Avenue and the Knickerbocker Hotel and Darch Apartments at 226 Prospect Avenue are among historic properties in downtown Hot Springs that may soon enjoy rehabilitation.
Jason Taylor of Hot Springs is reportedly negotiating to purchase the three historic structures. The properties are currently owned by Landmark Holdings.
“There’s a ton of real estate activity happening downtown,” said Cole McCaskill, Downtown Development Director for the Hot Springs Metro Partnership.
“In 2014 we saw seven significant properties change hands with a total value of $3.376 million. We’ve already outpaced that in the first seven months of this year with eight properties selling for a total value of $7.51 Million.”
The Citizens Building is listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places. Its National Register application states the building was built in 1911-12 for Citizens National Bank. Hamp Williams and Gus Strauss were among the officers for the bank who presided over the construction. In the 1930’s the ground floor was converted into Hot Springs’ first bus terminal, the Tri-State Union Bus Depot. In 1946, First Federal Savings and Loan occupied the building and in 1957, purchased the property in what was called “the largest real estate transaction involving business property in Hot Springs in years” in the June 8th, 1956 edition of the Sentinel Record. First Federal moved out in 1978. Throughout its history, the upstairs offices were occupied by lawyers, accountants, chiropractors, and federal agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, Social Security Board, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Development plans will be made public after the closing of the sale.
The Hot Springs Metro Partnership is the area’s public/private economic development organization, serving all of the Hot Springs region. The Partnership’s main goals include 1) Hot Springs Downtown, 2) Business Retention and Expansion throughout the region, 3) Talent, with its implication for the workforce generally and technical skills in particular; and 4) Quality of Place, emphasizing the amenities of the area and their economic potential.