A major part of the Arkansas Department of Heritage’s (DAH) mission is renovating historical buildings in Arkansas, but the DAH is currently spending approximately $7 million in taxpayer funds to build a new headquarters for the agency.
According to the Arkansas Department of Finance Authority (ADFA), funding for the new headquarters was approved in 2014.
The Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) has been working with ADFA and the Arkansas Building Authority (ABA) on the acquisition, renovation and equipping of existing buildings at 1100 North Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. The project will also include the construction of a new building. The cost of the project is expected to not exceed $10,000,000. ADFA will own the property, lease to the ABA who will then sublease to DAH.
According to a DAH spokeswoman, the DAH purchased the property for the new headquarters from 1010 North Street, LLC; Hoffman Family LLC; and Hoffman Joint Revocable Trust. However, the state ended up paying approximately $2.5 million for the property — which was much more than the property had previously been appraised at.
From a DAH spokeswoman:
The property appraised for $2,600,000 for a new, multi-story office building in September 2013. A previous appraisal for $1,550,000 was for property “as is,” which was “industrial/warehouse/distribution” property.
It is not entirely clear why the DAH has diverted from its mission of preserving historical buildings in Arkansas in the course of using taxpayer dollars to build itself a new building for its headquarters.