Old Post Office building under contract in downtown Fayetteville

The Old Post Office building stands at the center of the Fayetteville downtown square.

Photos by Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The historic building at the center of the Fayetteville downtown square could soon have a new owner.

The Old Post Office, located at 1 E. Center St., is currently under contract, and the buyer could take possession of it sometime this spring.

Listing agent Mark Risk of Real Estate Consultants confirmed that an offer has been accepted in principle, but includes several contingencies. Risk said backup offers are being accepted.

Risk said as with any real estate transaction, details of the offer, including the potential buyer’s name will remain confidential until the sale is final.

“I will say that if what they’re planning is able to come to fruition, it will be a really good thing for Fayetteville,” he said.

The 14,278-square foot building, most recently occupied by Urban Table restaurant and bar, appraised for $730,000 in March 2012 when the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission was negotiating a purchase of the property from owner Ron Bumpass.

The commission offered $730,000 after reviewing the appraisal, but the offer was not accepted.

The list price on the property is $1.5 million.

About the Old Post Office

The old post office is a familiar landmark located in the center of the Fayetteville downtown square that served as a U.S. Post Office from 1911 until 1963. The original cost of construction was $60,000.

The fate of the building was in jeopardy when in 1974, it was slated for demolition by the Urban Renewal Plan for the downtown area. A group of citizens began a petition drive to preserve the Neoclassical Revival structure as a historic landmark. Eventually the ruling was reversed and the building was saved.

In August 1974, the building was placed on the National Historic Register. Two years later, the building was purchased by Donald and Edna Bumpass. In 1977, a project began to convert the old post office into an upscale restaurant and club. Original features preserved include the building’s native marble frieze panels, classical dentals, and solid brass door handles. The electrical system, with copper fuses and fuse boxes enclosed within beveled glass, was designed by Thomas Edison.

The property is encumbered with a Historic Preservation Easement dated June 18, 1978. The easement has a term of 40 years. This agreement requires the owner or successors of the subject property to maintain and administer the property so as to preserve its historical character for the 40-year term. The agreement also gives the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program the first rights of refusal if the owner shall wish to sell the property. The Arkansas Department of Historic Preservation has twice declined to exercise the right of refusal.

In the past 15 years, the old post office has housed various business including Hog City Diner, Stogie’s Fine Cigars and Tobacco, Sodie’s Fountain and Grill, Jammin’ Java, and Urban Table. The property is currently vacant except for Ron Bumpass’s use of the upper level’s western portion for his legal practice.

Source: A&P Commission