FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fayetteville City Council will vote on a proposal that would bring a seven-story hotel to The Ramble in Downtown Fayetteville.
The council will vote on Tuesday, October 18 regarding the proposed development of the Ramble Civic Plaza by Reindl Properties. A city council memo shows that the building would be a public-private partnership, with a “mixed-use building planned to provide ground floor active uses for the Ramble Civic Plaza on the southern end of the site.”
The design chosen by participants who engaged in the process consists of a gathering and event lawn, public plaza, garden spaces, and a civic promenade, with two buildings bordering the site on the north and south ends, as bookends of the plaza. The southern building will be integral to the site, as a backdrop for what will become a stage and performance area for the plaza. Additionally, the building will provide public restrooms accessible from the Razorback Greenway and Civic Plaza storage space within the ground floor.Fayetteville City Council Memo, meeting of October 18, 2022
The Fayetteville Cultural Arts Corridor bond project was passed in 2019 and citizens authorized $31,685,000 for construction. Artist’s renderings of this phase of the project demonstrate that “the proposed mixed-use building will be substantial and striking,” according to a city council memo.
“The building’s proposed uses will increase the liveliness of the adjacent Civic Plaza
and attract visitors to the downtown,” the memo states. “Hotel guests will eat, shop and recreate in the area, providing benefit to many existing local businesses.”
The memo states that initial analysis suggests that the project would provide approximately $350,000 per year in sales and hotel/motel/restaurant taxes to the city, plus another $85,000 annually in property tax to the city general fund, contributing to library, fire and police departments. The construction itself would also yield approximately $175,000 in sale tax revenue.
The building would have three primary facades: one facing Civic Plaza to the north, one facing the vacated Spring Street right-of-way to the south and a third facing West Avenue to the east. The final building design is subject to approval by the city council.
The memo cites bar, restaurant, cafe and retail uses being incorporated on the ground floor operating plan, with a hotel lobby designed to be “open and inviting.” The developer also promises to make “a good faith effort to purchase building supplies locally to increase sales tax revenues for the city.”
The memo continues by outlining benefits to local merchants and downtown business owners, including efficient valet parking.
“Once parked, a hotel guest in this location has access to the University of Arkansas, Dickson Street Entertainment District, Downtown Square, Razorback Greenway, Walton Arts Center, TheatreSquared, and multiple restaurant and shopping opportunities; all within a short walk. Personal mobility devices, such as electronic scooters, can boost the range of the hotel guests. Superb bicycle infrastructure is already in place.”
Fayetteville City Council Memo, meeting of October 18, 2022
The 62-page letter of intent packet provided to the city council also states that “sustainability has been a core goal of the Cultural Arts Corridor as demonstrated by the City’s efforts at making this project the first SITES Certified project in Arkansas.”
Indoor air quality is also cited as “a critical aspect of design.” An “efficient building envelope” to keep water and air out, creating a good thermal barrier, was also deemed essential in the project’s development.
Reindl Properties, the project’s developer, will purchase land for the building from the city at “fair market value” as determined by a third-party appraiser approved by both parties. Reindl also agreed to convey “perpetual easements” to the City of Fayetteville for the construction of public walking and biking trails.
The agreement also states that the developer and the city will “coordinate design consultants on designing bicycle, pedestrian, automotive, and landscape infrastructure on all sides of the Building.” It continues by addressing specific aspects of paying for various infrastructure costs.
This would be the first new hotel built in Downtown Fayetteville since the 1970s. If approved, it is projected to offer 135 guest rooms, along with meeting spaces, hospitality spaces and ballrooms.
UPDATE: On October 18, the council unanimously agreed to table a vote until its meeting on November 1.