Groundbreaking Planned for $12 Million Hilton Garden Inn

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 355 views 

A project in the planning phase for several years is finally ready to move forward.

Krushiker Hospitality Group Inc., a Springdale-based hotel management and development company, will turn dirt July 23 on the $12 million Hilton Garden Inn & Conference Center near the Wedington Road exit in Fayetteville just off Interstate 540.

It will be the first new hotel under construction in Fayetteville in about five years. KHG opened Homewood Suites by Hilton at the same area in May 2009.

Narendra “Narry” Krushiker, the owner of KHG hotels, said he had to wait out a sluggish economy before bringing the Garden Inn to market.

KHG maintains two other hotels within shouting distance of the Garden Inn site, and Krushiker said adding a third property at the location has been in the pipeline for some time.

“With the [economic] downturn, we saw a softening market, and people just didn’t travel as much,” he explained. “Last year, everything started perking back up. We decided this was the right time and this was the right place.”

The 90,000-SF hotel will have 115 rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant, bar and 8,500 SF of flexible meeting space.

The Garden Inn is just east of Homewood Suites and north of Holiday Inn Express. The hotels off exit 64 all have different price points to meet the needs of different travelers.

Homewood Suites, managed by Diana Baker, is an upper-end property in the Hilton brand, tailored to extended-stay bookings.

“We cater to people who are staying for a while; six days or more,” Krushiker said. “At times, it turns into a year or two.”

The Holiday Inn Express, managed by Matt Behrend, was purchased in 2005 by KHG and caters to sports teams, Krushiker said.

The Garden Inn will be a good mixture of both corporate and leisure business.

A main highlight of the Garden Inn will be five flexible meeting rooms totaling 8,500 SF. Among Fayetteville hotels, only The Chancellor Hotel (14,000 SF) would offer more.

Krushiker said the flexible space at the Garden Inn would be able to accommodate a variety of groups and events including corporate meetings, receptions, conventions and leisure events.

The ballroom is expected to accommodate 200 to 300 people, and Krushiker hopes the facilities will be an option to compete with the Fayetteville Town Center, which hosts numerous events near the downtown square.

“There is still a strong demand for large meeting spaces in addition to the Fayetteville Town Center,” Krushiker said.

Sawatzky Construction Co. of Oklahoma is the general contractor for the project, and Humiston Garrett Stubbs PLLC of Fort Smith is the architect.

First Security Bank in Springdale is financing the development.

Construction should be complete in 12 to 14 months.

Krushiker, who is also owner of University Square Shopping Center off Highway 62 in Fayetteville, has been in the ownership picture of about 15 hotels in Northwest Arkansas for more than three decades.

He started in the hotel business in 1980 as an innkeeper of a 30-room motel on Highway 71 Business in Springdale called the Flamingo

KHG was incorporated in 2000 and today manages more than 1,000 rooms in the Northwest Arkansas, Tulsa and Fort Smith area.

Krushiker is a stakeholder in all of the properties.