Hyatt approves Keller project for Jonesboro, site plan headed to MAPC

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 437 views 

Rendering of the possible Jonesboro hotel appearance with the Keller Convention Center project.

Officials with Keller announced Monday (May 2) that Hyatt hotels has officially approved the Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center project for Jonesboro.

The 147-room Hyatt Place Hotel will be attached to a 40,000 square foot Convention Center and built on Interstate 555 as the anchor for the new 42-acre Centre Park Development, officials said Monday.

“This is an incredible milestone for Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas,” Chris Keller said in a statement. “Northeast Arkansas has never had a Hyatt brand of any sort. To bring a Hyatt product to the market is something we have been focused on for quite some time. They are a leading global brand in the hospitality industry, and we cannot overemphasize how excited we are to have them be a part of our convention center development.”

The Northeast Arkansas Convention Center Hyatt Place also includes plans for at least a full-service restaurant inside the hotel.

With the Hyatt approval secured, developers have worked with engineers and architects to move the construction process forward. Documents are being finalized to allow the site plan to be placed on the agenda for the May 24 Metropolitan Area Planning Commission meeting, and construction documents and permitting will follow.

“We are anxious to see red steel coming out of the ground as quickly as possible,” Keller said, adding that the project is poised to meet its target opening in 2017.

The Hyatt Place and Convention Center phase of the project is estimated to be a $27 million dollar project, with a second hotel budgeted at $15 million dollars to be built and connected to the convention center in Phase 2. Developers estimate an additional $10 million in restaurant and retail development along the southern and western boundaries of the convention center site. The entire development at buildout is estimated between $90 million-$100 million dollars, officials said.

Chris Keller will manage the construction and operation of the hotel and convention center, and is moving his family to Jonesboro this summer.

“My dad (Chuck Keller) fell in love with Jonesboro the first time he visited there almost eight years ago”, Keller said.  “So did our entire family when we had the opportunity to come down. We are excited about becoming a full-fledged member of the community; personally as well as corporately.”

The project will be built by Jonesboro based Construction Network. Engineering is being provided by Jonesboro-based Associated Engineering, while architectural services provided by Bob Rowe of Milwaukee, Wisc.-based PURE Architecture Studio in coordination with Jim Little of Little and Associates Architects in Jonesboro.

A second convention center project is being built at Arkansas State University. Missouri based O’Reilly Hospitality Management is building a 202-room Embassy Suites, a 40,000 square foot convention center and a Houlihan’s Restaurant at the former ASU track complex. Officials with the project have said the ASU project would have a $44 million impact on the local economy each year, with 300 jobs at the convention center and 100 jobs at other businesses.