Historic Garrison Avenue Building To Be Renovated Into Apartments

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Partners Randy Shock and Greg Burrows plan to renovate the historic Ward Hotel Building on 6th Street and Garrison Avenue in Fort Smith.

The building, built in 1929, has a ballroom and lobby with most of the original design still in place. The partners said they plan to keep those two spaces as original as possible.

"It's an original art deco, I think is the term," Shock said. "We plan to leave it pretty much as it is. We plan to restore it and leave the crystal chandeliers and crown molding."

The renovation is set to begin in a little over a month. According to the partners they are currently in the phase of securing all the funding necessary to turn the old hotel into a high-end apartment building.

"High end granite counter tops, wooden floors," Shock said.

The apartments will have a semi-aerial view of Garrison Avenue and will be constructed from the fourth to 11th floors. Most apartments will be one bedroom.

They have room for 48 one-bedroom apartments, but they numbers could change if they have the demand for larger projects.

"The third floor will be office space and the second floor is currently the original ballroom," Burrows said.

The chandeliers and original crown molding will be left as is.

The building will also house a physical fitness area and 75 parking spaces around back.

On Tuesday the two partners, interior designer Jan Hicks and architect Tim Dowty met with the Fort Smith Central Business Improvement District Commission in hopes of securing permission to install a New Orleans style balcony.

"It will sit on the avenue off of the south side of the building and will access what we hope to be a pub area on the second floor," Shock said.

The business partners said they are in the process of seeking a restaurant owner who would be interested in setting up shop inside of the building.

There will also be a smaller events type center for weddings, receptions, etc. and plenty of space for business owners to lease office space.

According to Shock and Burrows the renovations will take a little over a year. They hope to start leasing apartments by January 2017.