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David Lang Out After Hammons SaleLock Icon

2 min read

David Lang, the longtime general manager of the 400-room Embassy Suites hotel and 125,000-SF Hammons Convention Center in Rogers, is out of a job after a New York investor bought the assets of John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts.

“That hotel was my home,” Lang said. “It is kind of my baby. It has become an icon in northwest Arkansas, and I want it to continue to be that.”

JD Holdings, led by Jonathan Eilian, bought the remaining 35 hotels and other assets of Hammons in a bankruptcy settlement. JD Holdings had previously bought some Hammons properties and had the right of first refusal for the remaining assets; John Q. Hammons died in 2013 and his company filed for bankruptcy to protect its assets.

It was reported that JD Holdings asked for a $1 billion loan from Goldman Sachs to assist the purchase, but an exact sale price hasn’t been released. The acquired assets will be managed by Atrium Hospitality of Alpharetta, Georgia.

Atrium informed Lang, 53, on May 17 that he would not be retained after 25 years as a Hammons executive.

Lang said he was surprised by the decision; he had been a proponent of Atrium during the court lead-up to the final transaction. He said he would take some time off but was excited about the opportunities in the future.

“I wish nothing but the best for Atrium; they were gracious,” Lang said. “It was a surprise but it’s corporate America. I’ll take my talents elsewhere.”

Lang came to Rogers to help Hammons run the Embassy Suites hotel and build the convention center in May 2004. He had worked at previous Hammons properties and said the Springfield, Missouri, real estate mogul had been like a second father to him.

Lang said Hammons’ entry into Rogers was an important contribution — along with the Pinnacle Promenade and Mercy Hospital — to the explosive growth of Rogers.

“I turned down the job the first time and he called me and said, ‘Trust me and take a leap of faith and you won’t regret it,’” Lang said. “I couldn’t say no. It has been a wonderful experience here. The Hammons Center and the Embassy Suites is what changed the economic landscape in that part of northwest Arkansas.

“That was the catalyst of $1 billion in economic growth in about a 1-mile-square radius around that hotel. I’m proud to say we built a bit of an empire there, and I was part of it.”

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