An El Dorado-based ownership group announced today it is bringing a boutique hotel to downtown El Dorado as part of the Murphy Arts District (MAD).
Named The Haywood, the hotel is scheduled to break ground in early 2019, with a target opening of March 2020. It is budgeted at over $14.0 million, and will be developed by Newmark Moses Tucker Partners (NMTP) of Little Rock.
“Newmark Moses Tucker was the unanimous choice when it came to carrying out the vision the owners wanted for The Haywood,” said Terry Stewart, MAD Chairman and CEO. “We needed a firm that could make the hotel a distinct stand-alone destination, while ultimately supporting and strengthening the district as a whole.”
The hotel will be ideally situated a half block from the new farm-to-table Griffin Restaurant and Music Hall, one block off the downtown square. It is the latest addition to the multi-million dollar Murphy Arts District, the first phase of which was completed in August 2017. Phase 1 includes The Griffin, along with a new 8,000 seat outdoor amphitheater, farmer’s market and 2-acre “destination playscape” for kids.
Austin Barrow, MAD President and COO, said The Haywood not only fills the need for new accommodations in downtown El Dorado, but also embodies the ambition and spirit of the Murphy Arts District.
He credits the leadership and financial backing of the local ownership group in making the hotel a reality. All have deep ties to El Dorado, the vast majority of them serving as leaders in the community both on the corporate and non-profit side. The group is driven by a commitment to making El Dorado culturally rich and economically prosperous, now and in the future.
“It wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Barrow. “And that’s important, because The Haywood is critical to the overall success of the district. The collective MAD experience is what matters, and The Haywood will be an important part of that.”
BancorpSouth originally contributed the land to what would become a MAD-related entity, which in turn deeded it to the current ownership group. The project will be financed by El Dorado-based First Financial Bank, and key development partners include the architecture firm AMR Architects and general contractor Clark Contractors. Advertising agency Eric, Rob and Isaac will lead The Haywood’s branding and PR efforts, and Beechwood Hospitality will manage and oversee all hotel operations.
The Haywood will consist of four stories and 70 rooms, all of which will be on the second, third and fourth floors. A pool and outdoor courtyard will feature a prominent fireplace and manicured landscaping, and can be reserved for private parties, corporate gatherings and other events.
According to Ray Nolan, Senior VP of Development for Newmark Moses Tucker Partners, programming and designing the first floor of the hotel will be a major focus of the project.
“You don’t have to live in El Dorado to feel the great sense of community it has,” said Nolan. “We want to create a place where everyone – locals, corporate travelers and weekend visitors to the Murphy Arts District – will feel at home.”
To help achieve this, AMR Architects set out to create a space where classic materials were reimagined throughout a rich and layered interior. This includes art installations and hand selected furnishings.
Central to the hotel will be The Well, a full-service bar with a limited food menu. Here, inlaid marble tile floors and a stained wood bar employ traditional design materials in new and dynamic ways. The bar will have two big-screen TVs, and will open onto an outdoor wraparound patio with ceiling fans and couches where groups can sit street side in a sophisticated front porch setting.
“The Well is at the heart of the project,” said Jamie Moses, Director of Development for Newmark Moses Tucker Partners. “It’s comfortable and refined at the same time.”
Just off the bar is The Haywood’s signature “den.” The room will include a TV, banquet and soft seating, featured art work, sconce lighting and a textured tile fireplace.
“The coziness of the space is intentional,” said Moses. “You can bring over a drink from the bar, sit by the fire and relax.”
In addition to these spaces, the lobby will feature hardwood floors and a coffered, twelve-foot ceiling. White ridged tile will finish the check-in desk, and arched openings will lead hotel guests into the bar and living room. The lobby will also provide a dedicated space for light breakfast items and snacks, complete with a large farm table with charger and docking stations.
“What’s been done with the Murphy Arts District is amazing,” said Nolan. “The Haywood will have that same energy and excitement. It’s been a special project to work on, and the end product will stand alone.”
Moses acknowledged the importance of both the ownership groups’ and city’s support for the project, and said The Haywood could serve as a template for similar hotels in other cities and towns where growth initiatives are fueled by strong civic as well as corporate engagement.
“It’s not every day that you get this kind of buy-in,” he said. “For us, it’s an opportunity to be a small part of something transformative. We’d do it all over again if we could.”
Along with Murphy, Murphy USA and PotlatchDeltic, a number of public and private companies within some of Arkansas’ largest business sectors have significant operations in El Dorado. These include Systems, Inc., Conifix Timber, Canfor Corporation, Delek, El Dorado Chemical, Clean Harbors, Lanxess and Nexans Amercable.
In addition to providing a first-class hotel experience for out-of-town employees and partners of these companies, The Haywood ownership group believes the hotel will capture the significant number of overnight visitors doing business with large area companies outside of El Dorado. Aerojet Rocketdyne, Raytheon Missile Systems, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics are just a few of these companies.
“El Dorado and surrounding towns like Camden are vital economic assets to Arkansas as a state,” said Stewart. “The problem is that there are no destination hotels of this quality where business travelers visiting the area can stay. The owners were adamant that The Haywood be the premier place for them.”
Located just a half-block from the El Dorado Conference Center (EDCC), The Haywood will also help the city compete for larger state and regional conventions, trade shows and other corporate and association events.
“We need to be able to provide lodging that’s essentially adjacent to the conference center,” said Barry Bagwell, Director of the EDCC. “Now we can, and that’s huge. With the new hotel and the Murphy Arts District right outside our window, we can significantly enhance our offering and bring more business through our doors. It becomes a destination for those who need facilities like ours.”
Bob Tarren, Chief Marketing Officer of the Murphy Arts District, agrees that The Haywood will help achieve the goal its owners wanted.
“It’s about getting people to El Dorado,” he said. “Of course, the district is part of that, the live concerts and festivals and shows. But the city needs companies and organizations to book their events here. The conference center needs to be able to offer lodging that’s basically right next door to it. With The Haywood, they’ll have a first-class hotel to do that.”
For more information, please call Ray Nolan, Senior VP of Development at Newmark Moses Tucker Partners, at 501-376-6555 ext. 2133.