UPDATE: Walton Family to Back Hotel Near Crystal Bridges Museum

by Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Staff  on Tuesday, Jun. 8, 2010 2:41 pm  

(Update: Read the full story on the $28 million hotel and plans for development.)

The Walton family, heirs to Wal-Mart Stores' late founder Sam Walton, will announce plans Tuesday afternoon to finance an art-themed hotel in downtown Bentonville near Wal-Mart headquarters.

A story, posted to the Wall Street Journal's website Monday night, says:

A Walton family investment arm and partner 21c Museum Hotel of Louisville, Ky., are scheduled to disclose Tuesday that they will construct a $28 million, 130-room hotel near Bentonville's downtown square that will open by 2012.

The hotel is one of a handful that operator 21c is modeling after the original 90-room 21c Museum Hotel that it opened in downtown Louisville in 2006.

In an unusual twist, the hotel will be designed to complement the $150 million Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art that is under construction nearby. The Bentonville museum is financed mostly by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton.

Officials are expected to announce the project at a news conference at 1 p.m. at The Conference Center at Compton Gardens at 312 N. Main St. in Bentonville, near the Bentonville Square. Renderings of the project are not expected today, but the 21c Museum Hotel of Louisville can be viewed at 21cHotel.com.

$1.5 Million Permit

In May, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. purchased a permit valued at $1.55 million to alter an existing commercial building. The building, located at 105 N. Main in Bentonville, is the current location of the Wal-Mart Visitors Center and Walton 5 and Dime.

The company announced in February that the Visitors Center would expand into the Terry Block Building on the Bentonville square, but it's unclear if the two developments will be on the same site.

According to the permit, Columbus, Kan.-based Crossland Construction Co. is the general contractor at the Visitors Center. Crossland is one of the largest contractors in northwest Arkansas and has built several Wal-Mart and Sam's Club projects as well as several area hotels.

The hotel would be the latest to announce plans for Bentonville.



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