Cotter Resort Developer Waited for Right Time

Missouri commercial developer Steve Stinnett, a fly-fishing enthusiast whose family is from Baxter County, says he's been waiting for an economic upturn before starting construction on a new resort at Cotter.

"I see a niche here, and Cotter's a nice little historic town," Stinnett told ArkansasBusiness.com Wednesday morning. With infrastructure including sewer already in place and "great access to the river," a fishing resort "just sort of made sense, so I've been waiting a couple of years to do this because of the recession."

S L Stinnett Co. has under contract approximately 5 acres that include about 1,000 feet of frontage on the White River, and the purchase from owner Ben Magness is set to close in April. Construction on the project, first reported Tuesday by the Springfield (Mo.) Business Journal, is scheduled to begin in May and take about a year to complete.

Seasons on the White Lodge, then, is expected to be open for an improved business climate in 2013.

Stinnett declined to separate out the cost of the land, but the first phase of the development - including the land, a 30-suite lodge, a restaurant and furnishings - is estimated at $3.9 million.

Plans call for the subsequent construction of seven riverfront cabins which will be sold to private owners.

The lodge was designed by Springfield architects Steve Minton and David Horst, and the construction contract was given to Americom Construction Co. Inc. of Mountain Home, which is owned by Perry and Brenda McDonald.

Once completed, the lodge will be managed by O'Reilly Hospitality Management, also of Springfield. Cabin sales are being handled by Roger Talburt of Peglar Real Estate in Mountain Home.

Seasons on the White Lodge will compete with the well-known Gaston's White River Resort , which has "done a wonderful job for 45 years," Stinnett said. But the new resort will be much smaller, he said, and will set itself apart by offering a new dining experience for customers from nearby Mountain Home.

"We're going to bring in a really nice chef to put in a really upscale fine-dining restaurant and bar. That will be the ticket. We're only eight miles from Mountain Home," Stinnett said.

Stinnett also believes there is plenty of business to support an additional fishing resort, and he intends to market Seasons on the White Lodge as a destination for corporate outings.

"We've seen a tremendous activity in the past five years. We've got people from all over the country coming to the White River to fish," he said.