Jonesboro may have two convention centers after all.
A large part of the puzzle needed for the plan to build a second hotel and conference center in Jonesboro is now set in stone, putting that project one step closer to reality, city officials said late Friday.
City officials were told Friday afternoon by representatives of the Keller Family in Effingham, Illinois that the financing approval has been obtained to build a 152-room Hyatt Place Hotel and Conference Center in Jonesboro.
The hotel and conference center would be built on land that once housed the Arkansas Services Center on U.S. 63.
The center, which housed the Department of Human Services and other state agencies, was demolished several years ago.
Financing for the Keller project was approved by First Community Bank.
Chuck Keller, whose family has operated hotels and conference centers for more than 50 years, has been working with the city for several years in hopes of building a facility in Jonesboro.
“I am very excited to be able to make the announcement that this conference center is coming to Jonesboro,” Mayor Harold Perrin said. “We have had tremendous interest in the last several years from multiple entities, and I have worked with all of them in trying to secure a center for our city. As a growing community, we have been blessed with several recent hotel projects. In addition to the Hyatt Place project, Arkansas State University has been working on a full-service hotel property to be located on campus. I am confident that both of these projects will be a tremendous asset to our city.”
When reached for additional comment Friday, Perrin said he plans to meet with the Keller family on Tuesday to discuss the project.
A site plan is expected to be presented during the meeting, Perrin said.
If an agreement is reached on the project, Perrin said he expects construction on the project to start within 30 to 45 days.
Perrin said the second project now enters a new phase.
“This has been a long process, and I am happy to be moving this project to the next level. I am looking forward to working with Chuck (Keller) and his family in the monumental endeavor for the City of Jonesboro,” Perrin said.
ASU PROJECT OVERVIEW
City officials, along with representatives from Arkansas State University, announced in late February plans for a convention center-hotel project.
University officials have been working with Missouri-based O’Reilly Hospitality Management on the project.
Under the plan, the complex will have nearly 200 rooms, a 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot conference center and a Houlihan’s restaurant nearby.
The facility would be built at the former ASU track and field complex, on an 11-acre site near Red Wolf Blvd. and Olympic Drive, officials said in February.