Fort Smith-based businessman Steve Clark has expanded his downtown Fort Smith property footprint with an estimated $4 million planned investment in two properties adjacent to the Propak Corp. headquarters building he acquired in 2013.
Clark, Propak founder and CEO, confirmed with Talk Business & Politics he has acquired the roughly 18,000 square foot Gottlieb building connected to the eastern end of what is now the Propak corporate headquarters. The Propak offices are in the top two floors of the historic and white tiled Friedman-Mincer building – also known as the OTASCO building – at the intersection of Garrison Avenue and Towson Avenue in downtown Fort Smith that Clark acquired in 2013.
Work on the former Friedman-Mincer building was completed in early 2016, and the project received the 2016 Award of Excellence in Preservation through Rehabilitation for a Commercial Building from the Preserve Arkansas organization. Tim Maddox of Fayetteville-based deMx architecture, was the project architect on the more than $3 million renovation.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Propak had about 55 employees working in the corporate offices. The company provides logistics, transportation and supply chain management services.
Clark estimated about $3.6 million – roughly $200 a square foot – will be spent renovating the three-floor Gottlieb building, with the work expected to begin in the third quarter and be completed by late 2022. The first floor will house commercial/lifestyle space, the second floor is planned for Propak office expansion and the top floor could be residential space. Clark said they have ideas for the commercial space.
“We’ve got two or three concepts that will be good but we’ve slow-rolled them because” of the pandemic, he said.
Clark, who is a member of the Central Business Improvement District that oversees development in downtown Fort Smith, also acquired the 18,000-square-foot Sigler building which is connected to the Gottlieb property. He said minor renovations will be made with that property and he plans to keep its studio and music space available.
“Sigler will continue its long history of being associated with the arts. So it will continue to be a destination for artists … to support our creative economy,” Clark said.
Both properties were acquired for $825,000, according to the Sebastian County Assessors office.