A redevelopment proposal is on file with the city of Little Rock to do something — commercial, office and residential use — with a city landmark, the former VA hospital at 300 East Roosevelt Road.

Metis Legacy Partnership LLC, not currently on the online list of Arkansas corporations maintained by the secretary of state, is listed as the developer. The proposal for the planned zoning project was submitted by architect Ron Woods, who told me Friday afternoon hat he’d attempt to get one of the leaders of the LLC to give me a call.


The proposal will be discussed at a subdivision meeting of the Planning and Development Department next week and is currently on the Feb. 22 agenda of the Planning Commision.

After the hospital closed, it was bought by Hobby Lobby and then given a few years later, in 2000, to the Institute for Basic Life Principles, a religious organization that planned to use it as a training center for its Bible-based courses. That center apparently is no longer in operation.


Woods said there’s an agreement to purchase the building from the Institute. He says that organization over the course of its 17-year ownership had done some quality renovation of space on the first three floors of the 11-story building. The building sits on several parcels totaling roughly six acres. The Little Rock Police Department rents some space in the building. My original figure on square footage was incorrect. I see now that assessors records aren’t clear on total square footage. It apparently is around 400,000 square feet.

Wood said he couldn’t provide details of a proposed sale price or the amount to be invested, but it would appear to be substantial based on what’s been proposed.


Here’s the redevelopment plan submitted to the city:

* First floor: retail, office and banquet hall.

* Second floor: Little Rock police continue as a tenant, along with other offices.

* Third-11th floor:  Residential use — tentatively 217 units ranging from one to three bedrooms. This would include assisted living units on the 3rd and 4th floors; standard apartments on floors 5-9 and Air BnB rentals on floors 10 and 11.


The project could include two roof garden lounges and residential amenities in the basement — storage, conference rooms, exercise and recreation facilities.

The proposal from Woods Group architects says the site has 360 parking spaces and 48 more could be created on the northwest portion of the property. The proposal said a waiver would be requested from normal parking requirements in city ordinance.

The Institute for Basic Life Principles has been controversial, particularly on account of its founder Bill Gothard, who became enmeshed in sexual abuse allegations. It’s passed across our radar, including for activities in Little Rock, several times. The Daily Mail wrote extensively about the IBLP center in Little Rock in the course of an extensive report on Gothard’s connection with the Duggar family, stars of reality TV, and the use of the Little Rock center to “cleanse” Josh Duggar after the story of his molestation of family members broke. That report includes photos of renovated portions of the building.

UPDATE: It appears Metis is an investors equity fund based in Irvine, Calif.  Their website lists several ongoing projects, including the Little Rock VA and a Blytheville project — a 178-acre planned community. One of the company leaders, AJ Gilbert, had been mentioned to me originally as the name of a potential leader on the Little Rock project. A developer by that name has been involved in past Little Rock projects, some of which didn’t end well. Adron J. Gilbert, who used as an address the same postoffice box used on the application to develop the Little Rock VA, went through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding beginning in 2011. He listed assets of $2.3 million and debts of $3.1 million. The filing listed a number of real estate and development entities in which he participated. The case was closed in 2013.

The Metis website seeks investors for the Little Rock project, whose description says in part it will include “a rooftop terrace that will be converted into a restaurant and event center with scenic views of the downtown and surrounding areas of Little Rock.”