Northwest Arkansas’ largest hotel has a new owner, a new management company and a new general manager.
A New York investment firm has officially taken over operation of Missouri-based John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH), the result of a bankruptcy settlement agreement reached earlier this year between the John Q. Hammons estate and JD Holdings, a New York investment firm owned by Jonathan Eilian. A judge approved the settlement agreement in April, stipulating JQH would sell its remaining 35 hotels and other assets.
The JQH hotel company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2016. The hotel company was founded by the late John Q. Hammons, who died in May 2013 at the age of 94.
The portfolio acquired by JD Holdings includes the Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas and adjoining John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers. A warranty deed finalizing the transfer of ownership of the 19.5-acre development was filed Monday (May 21) at the Benton County Courthouse.
Two sources confirmed to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal that, as of last week, David Lang, the longtime general manager of the Embassy Suites, no longer works for the hotel. Lang, who had worked for John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts for 24 years, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Lang joined the property as general manager in February 2004, following the departure of Robert Kisabeth. The hotel opened in May 2003, then expanded to 400 rooms in July 2007 with the addition of a 152-room spa tower, built to accommodate the adjacent convention center.
It is unknown if other members of the hotel’s management team have been let go. Larry Cooper is the property’s new general manager, according to both sources. Cooper has not returned a voice message left at the hotel.
Atrium Hospitality, a hotel management company based in Georgia, has assumed management of the former JQH hotels for JD Holdings. Sheri Davidson Smith, a public relations executive in Dallas representing Atrium, responded to telephone message from the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal with this e-mailed statement:
“Specific details relating to the bankruptcy settlement agreement are being finalized. I would be happy to facilitate responses to your questions in the coming weeks.”
It is unclear what changes, if any, are in store for the Hammons-branded convention center in Rogers.