Bentonville Hotel Will Have Sustainability Focus

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 109 views 

A rendering of the new Element Hotel by Westin slated to open in Bentonville by August 2017. The project is owned by Bentonville Hospitality with Shash Goyal as the lead owner of the project. The hotel will feature 107 studio units and one-bedroom suites.

A new brand of Westin hotels is set to enter the Arkansas market in Bentonville.

The Bentonville Planning Commission has approved development of a four-story, 107-room Element Hotel by Westin near the southbound Interstate 49 exit at South Walton Boulevard.

More specifically, it’ll be built on a 3.38-acre tract behind Cracker Barrel restaurant.

The hotel developer is Bentonville Hospitality LLC, an entity controlled by Shash Goyal, the majority owner and CEO of Little Rock firm I Square Management. The company’s portfolio of properties includes 550 rooms and can be found in Maumelle, Little Rock, Fort Smith and Forrest City.

Goyal recently secured an $8 million funding agreement for the Bentonville project from Generations Bank in Rogers.

Central Construction Group of Little Rock is the contractor and Chasen B. Garrett Architects of Fort Smith is the designer.

An official groundbreaking will be held before the end of the month, and the property is expected to open in August 2017. It’s the first new construction of a Bentonville hotel since the 21c Museum Hotel opened on the downtown square in February 2013, and will be the 10th Bentonville hotel with an inventory of more than 100 rooms.

The approximately 69,000-SF property will also include about 650 SF of conference and meeting space, according to the architect.

Goyal acquired the land in December for $850,000 ($5.77 per SF), and he envisions bringing a hotel to the market that is smartly designed for the area’s upscale business traveler segment.

Colliers International in Rogers brokered the deal for Goyal.

“We truly believe there’s a clientele there for this type of modern, eco-friendly contemporary hotel,” Goyal said. “Especially with Crystal Bridges there, the [University of Arkansas] and the number one company in the world.”

Goyal is also vice chairman of the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission, the policy board of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and in that role travels frequently throughout the state.

He believes bringing hotels like the Element brand to Arkansas will only help strengthen the state’s image across the globe.

“A lot of people come to Northwest Arkansas from all over the world, and this type of hotel will appeal to those types of customers,” he said. “The entire Northwest Arkansas market is becoming very vibrant.”

Sustainability Emphasized
The Element portfolio is currently owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., although that will change in the coming weeks, following completion of Marriott’s acquisition of the company. The brand was launched in 2008 and to date, there are 22 Element Hotels worldwide, with 19 in North America.

Starwood describes the extended-stay hotel brand as environmentally friendly, featuring recycled materials, with an emphasis on smart, sustainable living.

The hotel features studios and one-bedroom suites with fully-equipped kitchens, ergonomic desks, bathrooms with dual-flush toilets, 24-hour fitness centers, bikes for borrowing and complimentary breakfast.

Guests can also charge their electronic devices while pedaling on specially designed bikes in the spacious fitness center.

Starwood requires that all Element properties pursue the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.