A feasibility study conducted by Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners shows that a convention center and hotel in Bentonville would generate hundreds of new jobs, millions in new tax revenue, and spark a hearty micro-economy in goods and services.
The study, commissioned by the Bentonville Convention & Visitors Bureau, estimates that the convention center-hotel could cost around $150 million, a figure that anticipates construction jobs and building materials.
To read the economic, fiscal and employment impact of Hunden’s analysis, click here.
“The incremental impact of the project, which includes the convention center, hotel and spinoff spending from new and recaptured visitors, will increase economic activity and will result in higher fiscal activity, income and employment for the Bentonville economy,” the report says.
The report does not show a location, how large it would be, how the facility would be funded, or when it would be built.
At present, there are two convention centers on the I-49 corridor, the Holiday Inn & Convention Center in Springdale, and the Embassy Suites Hotel, Spa & Convention Center in Rogers.
The Bentonville report estimates that the center would create nearly 200 jobs in year one, and by year five, would produce as many as 357, from direct, indirect and induced sources. Likewise, in year one, the convention center-hotel would be expected to generate $10 million in net new spending, and by year five, over $22 million, from direct, indirect and induced sources.
In terms of taxes, a convention center-hotel would lavish Bentonville’s public entities with $7.4 million over a 10-year period, according to the study. Broad brush, the center would generate revenue in two ways, through overnight stays and daytrips across an array of corporate, group and leisure travel.
The study comes as Bentonville continues to assert itself as the region’s arts and culinary hub. In addition to a spate of high-end restaurant openings in and around the downtown square, the city is host to national draws like the Bentonville Film Festival, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the Scott Family Amazeum, which will open July 15.
Entities tied to the Walton family have also made key property purchases in the recent past that include the old First Christian Church northwest of the square, and three properties in or adjoining the Market District, a 25-acre area southeast of the square.