Roughly one year behind schedule, Kunal Mody, CEO of Little Rock-based Reimagine Hospitality, said the Sheraton Four Points Hotel should open along Walton Boulevard in Bentonville sometime in early 2014 – that is if prolonged inclement weather does not get in the way.
“We have taken our time to get this right, carefully shopping the brand and working closely with our lender, Signature Bank, to make sure this new hotel not only meets, but exceeds expectations among business travelers to the Bentonville area,” Mody said during an a phone interview on Thursday (Dec. 12).
The new hotel will be located at the former Clarion site near Rainbow Curve in Bentonville. Joe’s Italian is set to open in the former Boston Pizza restaurant space attached to the hotel. Permits with Arkansas Health Department have already been filed for the restaurant. Mody said the restaurant should open about one month ahead of the hotel, likely in late January or early February.
“They are waiting on us at this point and there is still more construction to complete on the hotel side,” Mody said. “We are in the process of splitting the gas and water lines from the hotel to the restaurant so Joe’s can proceed with their opening.
He said the construction team is adding about 3,000 additional square feet of meeting space, a needed commodity in Bentonville. The former Clarion Hotel had roughly 26,000 square feet of convention space, which was the largest meeting area in Bentonville when it closed in September 2011, according to Kalene Griffith, CEO of the Bentonville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Mody is not sure exactly how much meeting space will be available because the construction plan includes turning some of the open atrium area into meeting space. He said there is a full bar renovation and expansion as well as a lobby overhaul still yet to be completed.
The new hotel will have roughly 105 rooms in addition to the meeting space. Mody said Sheraton Four Points is a cross between Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Garden Inn, which cater to the business traveler seeking comfort, functionality with modern decor.
“We know this location at 211 S.E. Walton is golden, given it’s proximity to Wal-Mart’s Home Office and the Sheraton Four Points should be a good fit for Bentonville. It’s a strong brand and part of the Starwood Property network. The Aloft Hotel in Rogers is the only other Starwood property in the local area,” he said.
A total hotel transformation takes time and Mody said he consulted with Sam Alley, co-owner of the Chancellor Hotel in downtown Fayetteville, who knows a thing or two about a massive hotel renovation.
“We consulted with Sam Alley’s firm VCC Construction and we are using Crossland Construction to do the work locally. We use local contractors and service providers so that the community of Bentonville benefits from this project each step of the way. Our lender, Signature Bank, has also been a great partner in the planning phase as well as providing the necessary funds,” Mody said.
He declined to give the project costs at this time.