A development group that involves Tom Walton announced plans Monday (June 18) to develop a 0.60-acre site at the southeast corner of the downtown square in Bentonville into a full-service hotel.
The hotel will be built on the Tucker’s Corner site at 200 E. Central Ave., an office building now home to multiple tenants, including the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The project is in the early stages of design and is expected to break ground in 2019, according to a news release distributed Monday.
Walton, a grandson of Walmart Inc. founders Helen and Sam Walton, is representing the hotel developers, who were not named in the news release. It included few details, other than the hotel will include between 100 and 200 rooms. Walton is the managing principal of Ropeswing Hospitality Group, the firm behind downtown Bentonville restaurants The Preacher’s Son and Pressroom and the event venue Record.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to meet the needs of Northwest Arkansas’ business and leisure travelers,” Walton said in a statement. “This project will be ideally positioned at the heart of Bentonville’s culinary and hospitality center, as well as the outstanding bike trails of the region.
“This new hotel will offer another signature amenity for guests coming to Northwest Arkansas.”
According to his bio sketch at the Walton Family Foundation website, Walton was also involved in bringing the 21c Museum Hotel – with 100 rooms and four suites – to Bentonville. It opened in February 2013. That’s the last hotel to be built in Bentonville, although construction is almost complete on the four-story, 107-room Element Hotel by Westin near the southbound Interstate 49 exit at South Walton Boulevard, behind Cracker Barrel. It’s being led by Shash Goyal, the majority owner and CEO of Little Rock firm I Square Management.
The 11,000-square-foot Tuckers Corner building was built in 1920, according to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, and is referenced the way it is because it was the longtime home of Tucker Abstract. The original building was an auto garage with a 20-car capacity and a filling station, as well as a lumber company office in the back. In the late 1920s, it was called the O. T. Garage and sold Texaco gasoline.
The property is owned by CTP Development Inc., according to Benton County property records. The entity is managed by Christine Horwart, whose eponymous law firm is also a tenant of the Tuckers Corner building. Horwart was not available for comment Monday. This story will be updated if she responds.
The chamber and the law firm are the only two tenants in the Tuckers Corner building. Graham Cobb, the chamber’s president and CEO, said he was aware of new development in store for the property, and the organization has already been preparing to that end.
“We have a [relocation] plan in place,” he told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “In fact, we’ve got an idea of where we might land, but I’m not prepared to say officially where that might be.”