Jonesboro is about to get its first convention center and a new hotel, and now the project has a new general manager. Embassy Suites by Hilton Jonesboro, owned and operated by O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC, announced Tuesday (Dec. 4) that Kraig Pomrenke has been appointed as the hotel’s new general manager.
It’s slated to open August 2019. As general manager, Pomrenke will be responsible for directing all aspects of hotel operations, including guest services, hotel administration and overseeing marketing efforts. In addition, Pomrenke will oversee all aspects of the hotel relating to Red Wolf Convention Center.
“We are fortunate that Kraig has joined our team, as he has great experience as a successful leader in this type of upper upscale hotel and convention center setting”, Tim O’Reilly, chief executive officer and founder of O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC said. “Kraig has already become a trusted member of the local community and will follow our O’Reilly Hospitality model of providing consistent world class guest service while focusing on sustainability and charitable outreach.”
Prior to joining the Embassy Suites, Pomrenke was general manager of the Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center and interim general manager for the Tideline Resort Hotel in Palm Beach Florida. Pomrenke is a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls and holds a degree in business management along with several years of leadership development experience for several major hotel brands.
O’Reilly Hospitality Management, based in Springfield, Mo., is building a 203-bed Embassy Suites Hotel, a 40,000-square-foot Red Wolf Convention Center, and a Houlihan’s Restaurant. The project is expected to cost about $60 million. Records from the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission show that O’Reilly previously said at least 430 jobs would be created directly or indirectly as part of the convention center project with a $44.418 million impact on the local economy. Of the estimated 430 jobs, 300 would be at the convention center with the rest coming from other sources.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin has said one of his main objectives was to bring a convention center to Jonesboro. By 2015, two competing projects, one by O’Reilly and another by Northern Arkansas Hotel and Convention Center (NAHCC) emerged. Originally called the Keller project, NAHCC proposed to build a 78,000-square-foot convention center and 165-bed Hyatt Place Hotel on the property adjacent to Interstate 555 near its confluence with Caraway Road just off the city’s hotel row. It was estimated to cost about $50 million.
ASU approved of the O’Reilly project in February 2016. ASU and OHM agreed on a 50-year lease that can be extended another 40 years. Starting in the fourth year, OHM will pay ASU $250,000 annually, and then starting in year 10 the amount will rise by a positive percentage difference based on the federal consumer price index. The university will also receive other benefits such as yearly room stays and others.