July 5, 2005 – Posted at 4:10 pm. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- K8 news confirmed last week that hotel developer John Q. Hammons is coming to Region 8.
Sources verify that eight acres off of Race Street in Jonesboro have been purchased and will be the future home of a new multi-million dollar hotel and convention center. And while the official announcement isn't slated until Wednesday, it already has folks wondering who John Q. Hammons is and what this means for Northeast Arkansas?
"We have a very strong industrial base I think that speaks volumes for the chamber and the economic growth here. The leadership here I think has been very, very strong and I think that's helped us a lot," said Bruce Burrow, a member of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development.
And it's attracted developers like Hammons to Region 8. "He's a legend in this business. I don't think you could find anyone who operates convention center type hotels any better then he does," said Burrow. Based in Springfield, Missouri, John Q. Hammons Hotels owns or manages 58 hotels in 22 cities. His company is considered to be one of the leading independent managers of hotel meeting space in the United States.
"We hear the name John Q. Hammons and all you have to do is look at Northwest Arkansas and see what he's done up there," said Burrow. Hammons has made major changes to many city landscapes.
And with an estimated $50 million dollar convention center on the property on the corner of Race Street and Fair Park, Jonesboro looks to be another city sporting the Hammons touch. Chamber of Commerce officials are still keeping quiet about tomorrow's big announcement. But it's really no big secret that Hammons has the funds to back up his vision for Region 8.
In March of this year alone, Hammons hotels did nearly $80 million dollars in sales. And folks in Region 8 are looking forward to seeing that kind of money pour into the local economy. "I think our future is extremely bright and it's got everyone's attention, not only in the hotel industry, but in the retail industry," said Burrow.