A&P Commission holds Keller Group to requirements for future funding

Groundbreaking for Keller convention center project (Source: KAIT)
Groundbreaking for Keller convention center project (Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The hotel and convention center backed by the Advertising & Promotions Commission is now be scrutinized by the A&P Commission.

At the meeting Wednesday afternoon, commissioners elected a new president and began questioning the progress of one of the city's biggest projects.

Jerry Morgan was elected the new A&P Commission leader and immediately began to question the progress of the Illinois-based Keller Management Hyatt Hotel and Convention Center under construction along I-555.

The Project's Construction Manager Chris Keller released this statement concerning the delay, "As many of you are aware, our private equity partner has experienced a delay in providing the funds for which we have contracted. We continue to work to bring construction back up to speed so that we can deliver the highest quality facility to the community of Jonesboro, as promised." 

The Keller group requested $150,000 in January, with $75,000 being paid to the private company.

In later February the project was put on hold because the project's investor was five months behind on his draws of money.

In the meeting, Morgan said the commission later learned approximately $70,000 of the $75,000 already paid was in a local bank, drawing interest for the Keller group.

After updates on the project, the commission voted unanimously to request the money be returned to the A&P Commission to be held in escrow.

The commission also voted to require the Keller Group, in writing, to follow several guidelines if they plan to use future A&P funds.

  • A letter from the bank showing funds committed to the project in a reasonable time frame.
  • A letter of credit assuring A&P funds would be returned if requirements are not met.
  • A full accounting of funds received and spent.
  • Vendors being paid current.
  • Final plans submitted.
  • A reasonable time frame for the project to have building materials coming out of the ground (90-120 days).
  • A letter from the Hyatt hotels committing to continuing their branding of the project

The Keller group will have 30 days from receiving the letter to meet the requirements.

The new convention center is also set to be the new home to the St. Jude S'Travaganza starting in January of 2018.

In August 2016 Keller said they hope the project would be completed by the end of February or early next spring.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android