Arkansas company to restore historic Jonesboro building
By KEITH INMAN
Jul. 09, 2018
JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — The old building at 215 Union St. has sat vacant for decades.
But after the National Park Service placed it on the National Register of Historic Places recently, plans are in motion to bring it back to life.
Jetton General Contractors of Paragould has agreed to buy the 1889 C.A. Stuck & Sons Lumber Office Building and will convert it into its new headquarters, Andrew Berner, president of the company, told The Jonesboro Sun .
The National Register nomination for the building noted that the lumber industry was an important economic engine in Craighead County during the 19th and early 20th centuries. "However, as the timber was all harvested from the area, one by one the companies went out of business and the buildings disappeared. Today, the C.A. Stuck & Sons Lumber Office Building is the last vestige of this important industry and its impact on Jonesboro and Craighead County."
Berner said he and Brandon Treat, company vice president, believe such a building is appropriate for their company.
"We love the idea that Charles Stuck was a contractor," Berner said. "We thought who better than another contractor to be stewards of that building 120 years later. And so I think that's where we both fell in love with the C.A. Stuck Building. The fact that he was a contractor and really was instrumental in bringing all the lumber to this area."
The historic designation makes the restoration project eligible for 45 percent tax credits — 20 percent federal and 25 percent state. Those tax credits made the difference between preservation or building something new, Berner said.
"The building needs a lot of work and whatever we do, we want it to be significant; we wanted to have significance in Jonesboro," Berner said. "But I think like any businessman, it has to make financial sense. And so, for us, the pro forma just didn't work without the tax credit."
Berner said he and Treat envision a mixed-use development.
"We'll be the building's tenant," Berner said. "But then we'll have some commercial space, and then we'll have some residential space."
Acquisition and renovation is expected to cost nearly $3 million, he said.
Owner Clay Young IV, great-grandson of Charles Stuck, said the sale will close in the next few days.
"I'm just grateful that these guys are going to come in and save it," Young said.
Jetton will inherit the mystery behind a 19th century safe contained within the three-level building. The combination to the lock has long since been forgotten.
Jetton General Contractors operates on a national level, building big-box retailers such as Walmart, Autozone and Harps stores, as well as general customized projects.
Berner said he has been inspired to join the conservation movement after watching the progress his hometown of Detroit has made in recent years.
Jetton will be its own contractor for the renovation and Treat will personally supervise the work, Berner said.
"We definitely want this to be a showplace for Jonesboro," Berner said. "Not just for us, but for Jonesboro."
Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, http://www.jonesborosun.com