Jonesboro making another pitch for convention center

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Though the site for the proposed multi-million dollar Convention Center has changed over the years, the purpose, has not.

"It's a huge, revenue generating machine," Thom Beasley, Chairman of Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission told Region 8 News.

Tuesday, the A&P Commission discussed what's next to keep the ball rolling on the Convention Center, which is now scheduled to be located on a 40 acre plot of land where the Arkansas Service Center currently sits vacant.

"You can basically divide this land into two parcels, where the A&P Commission retains 15 acres of this 39.68 and then the balance would be entered into with a land lease to the developer." Gary Harpole explained to the commissioners.

The developer will receive roughly 25 acres on which to build the 75,000 square foot Convention Center.

Beasley said after nearly 7 years of making plans and having them fall through, this is the farthest they've come on plans for the center.

"It finally came down to this was the site that they felt was the best for them to put a 45-50 million dollar investment into our city and build hotels, possibly restaurants that may go along with the hotels and the Convention Center and be profitable."

After building the center, the developer will have the opportunity to lease out the remaining acreage, bringing the possibility of additional restaurants and more to Jonesboro.

The A&P Commission will also have the opportunity to lease out or sell their 15 acres.

"We hope this time we have finally landed it," Beasley said.

The commissioners made motions regarding moving forward with the center. Commissioners agreed to approve the purchase of the land at the Service Center with certain contingencies attached. The commission will have a 120 day due diligence period in which to decide on whether this will be something they move forward with.

During that period, they will spend roughly $11,000 to have an asbestos abatement, survey the property and determine the needs for demolition.

If everything goes through with surveys and the developer, things should start moving forward in mid-September.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring you updates as they become available.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.


JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new convention center could be coming to Jonesboro. City officials in are considering a plan to buy a 38-acre property to build a new convention center and hotel.

The idea of a new convention center has been in the works for some time. However, finding the right location has been a project in itself.

"We had a piece of property purchased, made and offer and found out someone had a first right of refusal," Mayor Harold Perrin.

The Arkansas Service Center was their next go-to for the project.

"It just gives them much more land and available so they just felt like it would be a good location," Mayor Perrin.

Mayor Perrin said the new convention center would mean more money coming in for the city.

"You're looking at several million dollars of an economic impact just on the city of Jonesboro," said Mayor Perrin.

With nothing like it in the area, this gives something to Jonesboro the rest of the state already has.

"Make people come to Jonesboro because right now you're looking at convention centers in Little Rock, Hot Springs and North West Arkansas," said Mayor Perrin. "Nothing in Northeast and now we're going to be put on the map."

As distributors are working closely with the city it's actually a purchase that will be made by the Advertising and Promotions Committee.

"It's the advertising promotions committee that's buying the property, not the City of Jonesboro," Mayor Perrin.

The city's Advertising and Promotion Commission will meet Tuesday to consider a proposal to buy a property on McClellan Drive.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.