Consider 2012 One Wild Ride

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

Both men spoke prior to a ceremonial ribbon cutting, with Fayetteville mayor Lioneld Jordan, University of Arkansas chancellor David Gearhart, Panamanian president (and UA alum) Ricardo Martinelli and Gov. Mike Beebe.

The hotel, previously known as The Cosmopolitan, passed into receivership in December 2010.

The Chancellor offers 207 guest rooms and 15 luxury suites on the top two floors, making it the second-largest property in the area behind only the Embassy Suites in Rogers.

Three of the suites are 1,400 SF or larger, topped by The Chancellor Suite, a 1,800-SF space on the 16th floor with a view of the UA campus.

The re-opening also brought a new restaurant to the downtown area. Union Kitchen + Drinks, owned by Scott Bowman, is on the property’s first floor.


10. Notable Losses — Northwest Arkansas lost a colorful, often controversial figure when former real estate developer Gary Combs died Aug. 11 in a California hospital of cancer-related complications.

Combs, 59, was wanted on a contempt of court warrant at the time of his death. The warrant, issued in July by Washington County circuit judge Kim Smith, stemmed from a foreclosure suit between Combs and First State Bank.

Tom Terminella, a friend and former business partner of Combs, said Combs “was going to do things his way until the end.”

“He told me Kim Smith and the circuit court could kiss his ass,” Terminella said. “He was defiant to the end.”

Combs was instrumental in developing the Interstate 540 corridor with projects like Pinnacle Hills Parkway and the J.B. Hunt Parkway Tower, as well as many apartments and subdivisions throughout Northwest Arkansas.

Other notable passings this year include Ron Goforth, 74, an early proponent of high-tech industry in Northwest Arkansas. He co-founded EquityNet LLC and Virtual Incubation Co., and as a tenured professor at the University of Arkansas, helped found the UA’s Center for Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems.

Also, retired Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive Jack Moser died at 80; Fort Smith businessman Earl Q. Shipley died at 73; and Matt Turner, KNWA sports and news anchor from 2003 until July, died at 32.



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