Affiliates of Bentonville holding company Runway Group said Monday (May 16) that they plan to open a full-service hotel in downtown Bentonville by the summer of 2024.
Real estate development firm Blue Crane is leading the 142-room project at the southeast corner of the downtown square at 200 E. Central Ave. According to a news release, the 116,000-square-foot project will be six stories and include an event space, restaurant, bar, café and two retail spaces.
Blue Crane is Runway Group’s real estate acquisition and development arm. Runway Group is a diversified holding company based in Bentonville and led by Tom and Steuart Walton. They are the grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton and the sons of Arvest Bank Group Inc. chairman and CEO Jim Walton.
A Walton affiliate paid $2.55 million in October 2018 for an 11,000-square-foot office building ($231.82 per square foot) that previously stood at the 0.6-acre site. It housed multiple tenants, including the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. The building was razed the following year and is now a green space.
A Walton affiliate first announced the hotel project in June 2018.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to build a hotel that uniquely reflects the endless outdoor adventures available in Northwest Arkansas and provide an unparalleled experience for our local community and guests,” Blue Crane CEO Jared Faciszewski said in a statement.
Catering to the city’s booming bike culture, developers say the hotel will have several cycling-specific amenities, including a bike valet, secure storage and a bike wash.
The event space will have a capacity of 300 people.
“This new space opens the door of opportunity for Bentonville to attract a wide range of unique experiences, highlighting Bentonville as a great place for visitors and events,” Visit Bentonville president and CEO Kalene Griffith said in the news release.
Hotel parking will be provided by a new parking structure developed through an agreement with the Off-Street Parking Development District, a quasi-public entity formed to provide parking in the downtown.
The structure will be built a half-block east of the hotel where a surface parking lot with 93 parking spaces now exists. The parking garage, which is still in the design phase but will include public, hotel and overflow parking, will include 280 public spaces.
The developer will pay for the parking deck construction, which will have divided ownership via a horizontal property regime. The Off-Street Parking Development District retains ownership of the property.
Ropeswing Hospitality will lead food and beverage operations for the hotel. Ropeswing also exists under the Runway Group umbrella and operates multiple restaurants in Bentonville, including Preacher’s Son, Undercroft, Pressroom, Louise and Co-Op Ramen.
“We look forward to welcoming the community into our new concepts positioned in Bentonville’s culinary and hospitality center,” Ropeswing vice president Tracey Spillane said in a statement. “We are going to create a vibrant, engaging concept for both locals and visitors to enjoy first-class hospitality.”
A Blue Crane official said the independent hotel’s name will be released later. The company did not disclose a value for the project.
According to Visit Bentonville, the city’s tourism bureau, the city has 24 hotels that combine for 2,209 rooms.
A South Carolina developer also has a hospitality project in downtown Bentonville’s pipeline. Motto by Hilton is a six-story micro-hotel at 223 S. Main St.