Consider 2012 One Wild Ride

by Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Staff  on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 2:49 pm  


8. Crystal Bridges Impact — After the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in late 2011, the economic impact of the $800 million museum was felt throughout 2012.

The museum celebrated its one-year anniversary in November. There were about 600,000 visitors during the first year — more than double the initial projections — for an average of about 11,000 per week.

As visitors flocked to Bentonville to see Alice Walton’s colossal achievement, revenue totals rose in both the hospitality and restaurant sectors.

Revenue from the city’s hospitality tax increased more than 40 percent in 2012.

The effects of the museum were evident in the bustling downtown square, including the ongoing construction of the upscale 21c Museum Hotel, a $28 million property that will open in the first quarter of 2013.

There was also positive news in September when Tyson Foods Inc. gave Crystal Bridges $5 million to establish a research and residency program at the museum.


9. The Chancellor Opens — After years of enduring ups and downs, Fayetteville’s only full-service hotel finally had reason to celebrate on Sept. 14.

The Chancellor Hotel had a grand re-opening, a needed shot in the arm for the city’s downtown area.

The hotel, opened in 1981, is owned by Southwind Hospitality LLC, led by Sam Alley, the chairman and CEO of VCC Construction in Little Rock, and Ike Thrash, principal of Dawn Properties in Mississippi.

They paid $3.8 million for the property in 2011 and then closed it to complete a 10-month project to refurbish and modernize the hotel, with a cost of nearly $16 million.



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