The 21 tan barracks used to bustle with the busyness of the Army soldiers who trained at Fort Chaffee. But now they stand lonely and abandoned as they have since 1987. One Fort Smith man wants to bring new life to the buildings. 

By the beginning of October, Lloyd Sumpter, of Rival CRE, should own 25 buildings that were a part of Fort Chaffee when it was an active military base — buildings that date back to World War II.

“We’re pretty much bringing it back to life,” Sumpter said. 

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Sumpter plans to first renovate 13 of the barracks within the next 18 months, turning them into The Barracks at Chaffee. He will begin the project in October and wants to wait until he sees how the project does before pursuing renovation of additional buildings.

Eventually, the space could have as many as 90 apartments and 28 spaces for restaurants or retail businesses.

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The Barracks at Chaffee will turn old Fort Chaffee U.S. Army barracks into a live, work and play community featuring apartments, social areas and businesses.

Sumpter, who paid $663,000 for 21 of the buildings, will invest $20 million into the project, said Daniel Mann, executive director of the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority. 

Mann said there were no tax incentives provided as part of this project.

The first four apartments will function as Airbnbs. After that, Sumpter is still determining how much each apartment will cost to rent.

By Indana