Walton interests purchase Magnolia Gardens in downtown Springdale for $2.33 million

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 2,340 views 

Springdale Downtown LLC, an entity controlled by Bentonville-based Walton Enterprises, has purchased the Magnolia Gardens Event Venue in downtown Springdale in two separate deals totaling $2.33 million.

According to records filed at the Washington County Courthouse on Jan. 5, the sale of Magnolia Gardens at 501 N. Main St. was part of a $1.73 million deal that included eight parcels and 6.89 acres. In a separate acquisition, Springdale Downtown acquired six parcels of surrounding acreage totaling 6.55 acres for $600,000.

The 13.4-acre property is bordered by Shiloh and Mill streets and Huntsville Avenue and is split by Spring Creek and the 36-mile Razorback Regional Greenway, a bike and pedestrian trail system connecting communities in Northwest Arkansas from Bella Vista to Fayetteville.

Walton Enterprises LLC is the business that manages the family’s considerable fortune. Kiki McLean, a spokeswoman for the family, declined to comment on the deal.

A booking receptionist who answered the phone at Magnolia Gardens referred questions about the sale to the previous owners, William and Carol Kendrick. Neither could be immediately reached for comment. William Kendrick is a practicing physician at Shiloh Clinic in Springdale – adjacent to the Magnolia Gardens property – and a receptionist there said he was out of the office this week.

With its proximity to the Razorback Greenway, Magnolia Gardens is within walking distance of Shiloh Square/Walter Turnbow Park – just two blocks south – and other developments in downtown Springdale, which has been the focus of revitalization efforts. Tyson Foods as well as the Tyson family have made a multimillion-dollar commitment by purchasing and renovating multiple buildings in the downtown area, the first of which opened last summer.

Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said he is not aware of any development plans for the Magnolia Gardens property, but said any additional investment in the downtown area is good news.

“Downtown investment is good for the other businesses operating in that area, and it is good for the residents of Springdale who will benefit from the growth of our downtown,” he said. “Downtown Springdale is undergoing a phenomenal amount of growth, and we are excited to work with any developer who is interested in investing in our community.”

The Magnolia Gardens acquisition is the latest example of an interest the Waltons have taken to invest in downtown redevelopment throughout Northwest Arkansas, including the refurbished Turnbow Park, a project funded by a $2 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Construction being led by Springdale-based Milestone Construction LLC is scheduled to be complete by May 1.

Springdale Downtown LLC also owns the former Ryan’s Clothing store – which closed in 2013 – and the San Jose Manor building in the 200 block of East Emma Ave. acquired in June 2014 for $1.22 million. Combined, the buildings represent 29,616 square feet of commercial space. The two buildings still have not been renovated.

In Bentonville, a development group known as Northwest Arkansas Downtown Revitalization Fund is building a 5,761-square-foot movie theater five blocks southwest of the town square at the corners of Southwest A and SW 4th Street in the city’s Arts District. The group is backed by Tom and Steuart Walton – grandsons of Helen and Sam Walton – and they have made several investments in downtown Bentonville, including the Midtown mixed-use center just off the square, which opened in 2015 houses a Walmart Neighborhood Market, Pressroom and MOD restaurants, office space and retail shops.

Last fall, RopeSwing Hospitality Group, of which Tom Walton is managing principal, opened a 12,000-square-foot event center called Record in the former Benton County Daily Record building at 104 S.W. A St. in downtown Bentonville.

A Walton-affiliated entity also purchased a 42,000-square-foot building in downtown Rogers that previously housed Lane Hotel. The property, acquired in summer 2014, is now being developed into a campus of Fayetteville-based charter school Haas Hall. It’s slated to open this fall.

Magnolia Gardens, according to its website, has four areas to host indoor and outdoor weddings and events – Sunroom, Magnolia Hall, Upper Lawn/Wisteria Garden and Lower Lawn/Gazebo, a structure that measures 1,200 square feet. It also has a barn facade, swing area, Koi pond, magnolia grove and a bridge.

Forty guests can be accommodated in the Sunroom, between 150 and 180 in the 2,800-square-foot Magnolia Hall, and 200 in the Upper Lawn/Wisteria Garden.

Wedding package plans include the entire indoor and outdoor spaces, according to the website. Spaces are only available for renting ala carte for corporate and social events.