JONESBORO, Ark. (News Release) – Springfield based O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC announced its definite intent to move forward immediately with the final development and construction of its planned 202-room Embassy Suites Hotel & 40,000-square-foot convention center and Houlihan’s Restaurant project.
The hotel and convention center project and ground lease on University land, which was approved on Feb. 26 by the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees, will be located on Red Wolf Boulevard on the A-State campus between the Centennial Bank Stadium (football), Tomlinson Stadium (baseball) and Convocation Center, and will serve as a hub of campus activity and events, as well as a “living laboratory” for the university hospitality program.
“We have continued to work through the business model for this project including receipt of a recent significant grant from the Delta Regional Authority, and with the assistance of the University as our partner, as well as various other incentive programs, we have finalized the financial package and are awaiting the immediate approval by Hilton of our Embassy franchise application within the next 30 days” said Tim O’Reilly, CEO and Managing Member of O’Reilly Hospitality, the management company and developer of the project, and Managing Member of Jonesboro Hotel Partners, LLC which will be the owner and Hilton/Embassy franchisee. The Embassy Suites franchise application was filed by O’Reilly Hospitality in early 2015.
O’Reilly also stated, “It is unfortunate both that there appears to be a political competition of sorts regarding our project and another convention center project that has been attempted for many years, and that there is definitely not a market or opportunity to succeed for two convention centers in Jonesboro. However, we have great faith in our partnership with A-State which when combined with the outpouring of support from many facets of the Jonesboro business and medical communities, the powerful Hilton/Embassy booking and global marketing and sales engine, and our team’s experience and past success with this type of project, and we will press forward without hesitation and we will persevere and succeed in this market.”
“Arkansas State is thrilled to partner with Tim O’Reilly and his team of professionals and industry experts at O’Reilly Hospitality Management,” said Dr. Tim Hudson, Chancellor at A-State. “This innovative campus project will help define us further as a destination university. We will now install a new academic program in hospitality management that will attract students from across our entire region. As our recruitment footprint expands, the Embassy Suites Hotel will afford prospective students and their families as well as visiting artists and lecturers, sports teams, returning alumni and many others the convenience of staying in a first-class facility conveniently located on campus. The quality and magnitude of the OHM project will enable us to provide essential continuing education opportunities and conferences for medical students and faculty associated with the new NYIT osteopathic medical school which will open in the heart of A-State this fall. Faculty and students who belong to national, state and local associations can finally bid to host organization conferences in Jonesboro.”
“This world-class Embassy Suites and Red Wolf Convention Center project enhances A-State’s role as a leading economic engine in the region, will bring to our community thousands of new visitors, and provides new opportunities for our students. Thanks to the continued support of the local business community and the professionalism of OHM this project will soon be reality,” Hudson said.
Architectural plans for the project are currently being finalized by O’Reilly Hospitality Management and Butler Rosenbury Architects of Springfield, Missouri, with construction to begin within approximately 120 days, followed by a 15-16 month construction process. A-State & O’Reilly Hospitality are planning significant ground breaking and grand opening events that will promote the university, the City of Jonesboro, and the region as a first class destination for conferences, meetings, and business, academic and social events of all types.