Old Post Office building in Fayetteville sold for $2.28 million

The Old Post Office

Photos by Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The historic building at the center of the Fayetteville downtown square has a new owner.

The Old Post Office, located at 1 E. Center St., was recently purchased by Arnold Holdings LLC for $2.28 million, according to Washington County property records. The company is registered to Mike Arnold, according to state records.

Arnold bought the building from Doe’s Eat Place owner Jim Huson, who purchased the 13,500-square-foot OPO in 2013 from Ron Bumpass for $1.3 million.

The building was vacant when it sold to Arnold, but most recently housed Hayseed Ventures. Before that, it was a retail space for Country Outfitter until Acumen Brands closed the store in 2015.

The Old Post Office building 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 Ronald and Edna Bumpass. In 1977, a project began to convert the building 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.

The OPO has housed various other business including Hog City Diner, Stogie’s Fine Cigars and Tobacco, Sodie’s Fountain and Grill, Jammin’ Java and Bliss Cupcakes.