by Sarah Campbell-Miller
on Monday, May. 22, 2017 11:46 am
2 min read
The site of the planned Jonesboro Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center on Browns Lane Access Road. (Sarah Campbell)
The $30 million Jonesboro Hyatt Place Hotel Convention Center project has reached an agreement with contractors and sub-contractors who claim they are owed $1.5 million.
Developer Chris Keller also said in a a May 19 letter to the city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission that he is working to have those liens released.
The project broke ground nine months ago and is one of two convention centers being built in the city of about 70,000. There is doubt about it opening by next spring as planned, and the other project is also delayed.
The commission has pledged $300,000 in tax revenue for the Hyatt development and recently sent a letter demanding Keller, CEO of Northern Arkansas Hotel Convention Center LLC, answer several questions about the project that had raised “some serious red flags.”
Keller is also part of the Keller Family Hyatt Group of Effingham, Illinois, which has developed other hotel projects.
The commissioners demanded the letter after receiving an email from Keller claiming the project was moving forward. They weren’t satisfied that he hadn’t named a financial backer.
That backer is Carl Kaeding, owner of Kaeding Management Group LLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and principal partner in Central Midwest Hospitality Trust LP, according to Monday’s letter. Keller wrote that Kaeding would help the project satisfy its obligations to those who had already done work and “shore up the traditional financing required to complete this project.”
Keller also wrote that the project had returned just over $71,000 of the $75,000 the commission gave to the project earlier this year and would not request any more money from it until the project is complete.
The architect’s final plans are expected to be ready to submit in 60 days, and the project is expected to be “coming out of the ground” within 120 days, he said.
The commission had also asked to see a commitment letter from Hyatt. Keller said a franchise agreement had been signed and is “in place and in full effect.” But he also said it is “proprietary and cannot be shared.”
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Keller called that a non-issue as the project doesn’t plan to ask for more money from the commission until after the hotel and convention center is built.