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Little Rock’s historic VA hospital to become modern apartments



Little Rock, Arkansas – A landmark in Central Arkansas, the old VA hospital, known for its prominent position on a hill off of I-30, is set to undergo a significant transformation. For years, this historic building has been mostly vacant, but it’s now poised for a new lease on life as an apartment complex. This initiative, led by Georgia developer Pace Burt, represents a blend of historical preservation and modern living.

Pace Burt, the driving force behind this project, acquired the old VA hospital for over $30 million. He faces the unique challenge of refurbishing a mid-century building, a task complicated by the original structure’s distinctive design. “It had a lot of movement, which means things don’t line up as well,” Burt explains, referring to the building’s wings and layout.

Constructed in 1950, the former hospital was designed in the International Architecture style, characterized by an abundance of windows and an open floor plan. Burt intends to retain the architectural essence of the building while incorporating modern elements. His vision is to convert the 400,000-square-foot structure into 160 to 170 units, offering studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options.

The renovation plans aren’t just about preserving history; they also focus on modern amenities and convenience. The proximity to the South Main area of Little Rock is a significant draw, along with the promise of features like a hibachi, a pickleball court, rooftop viewing areas, and a swimming pool. These amenities are part of Burt’s strategy to provide a full living experience that combines historical charm with modern convenience.

However, the path to renovation hasn’t been smooth. The most time-consuming aspect has been the environmental cleanup of the building, a necessary step given the presence of asbestos and other hazards common in constructions from the 1950s. “It took us over a year and a half to finally get to construction based on a clean-up standpoint,” says Burt.

As construction progresses, Burt remains optimistic about creating a unique and appealing residential option for Central Arkansas. He aims to have the apartments ready for occupancy by late next summer. In terms of pricing, the plan is to list one-bedroom units at around $1,300 a month and two-bedroom units at $1,600 a month. This project represents not just a revival of a historic structure but also a new chapter in the area’s urban development, offering modern living spaces while honoring the building’s historical significance.

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