JONESBORO — It’s probably the most talked-about building in town. It’s highly visible and has been vacant for years.
But a real estate transfer last week offers hope that something finally is going to happen with the seven-story Citizens Bank building at the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue.
Redeveloping the landmark across the street from the Craighead County Courthouse has been a complicated puzzle, with multiple owners holding title to different parts.
One piece fell into place Friday after Andrew Leslie Smith of Little Rock gained title to the land beneath the building. But not to the building itself.
Smith paid $495,000 to the Sol Heinemann and Katherine Heinemann Trust for the land. Contact information for Smith was not immediately available Wednesday.
Jerry Halsey Jr., managing partner of Halsey Thrasher Harpole Real Estate Group, said it’s a significant development.
“The land underneath the Citizens Bank tower was all sold to a new, single owner,” Halsey said Wednesday. “This is the first step of a two-to-three step process that had to happen in order for a new development to take place on this site. We are very excited about the direction this seems to be headed in.”
Two different buildings that share a common wall are involved in the redevelopment effort.
The seven-story structure at 100 W. Washington Ave. was in the hands of the state land commissioner for a few years because of unpaid property taxes.
A new entity, One Main Square LLC, formed in October 2017, paid $9,995 in back taxes and fees dating to 2010.
However, that entity’s incorporation status has been revoked, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website.
First Security Bank owns the smaller two-story building at 106 W. Washington that’s attached to the taller structure.
Several other entities also held some ownership in the parking area associated with the building, a 2014 check of tax records showed.
City officials became actively involved in trying to help market the complex after objects began falling from the structure.
Condemnation was considered at one point; however, a structural engineer determined the building was sound.