Old Post Office building in downtown Fayetteville back under contract

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

Photos by Todd Gill, Flyer staff

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind year for the Old Post Office, but it looks as though the building at the center of the Fayetteville square could have a new owner soon.

Current owner Ron Bumpass accepted an offer to purchase the building back in January, only to have the sale fall through in February after the proposed use the buyer was working on “failed to come together.”

Now, the building is under contract again, and a new buyer is hoping to close on the sale in June.

“There are still contingencies, but this one is looking pretty good,” said Mark Risk of The Real Estate Consultants, listing agent on the building. “It has been under contract for about a week.”

Risk said that the new buyer is interested in either opening a business in the building, or renting it out to a restauranteur.

“I know he’s motivated to do something with it,” Risk said. “He’s not interested in letting it sit vacant.”

The building, located at 1 E. Center St. was most recently occupied by Urban Table restaurant. It appraised for $730,000 in March 2012 when the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission was negotiating a purchase of the property from Bumpass. The commission’s offer of $730,000 was not accepted.

Details of the sale won’t be made public until the sale is final. The property was most recently listed for $1.3 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