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Groundbreaking Marks Start for Embassy Suites and Red Wolf Convention Center Complex


Representatives of O'Reilly Hospitality Management, Arkansas State University and City of Jonesboro put their shovels in the sand to mark start of construction of the Embassy Suites and Red Wolf Convention Center complex on the A-State campus.

JONESBORO – Arkansas State University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony today to officially mark the start of construction of the Embassy Suites by Hilton and the Red Wolf Convention Center on the northeast section of the campus.

The crowd of guests who gathered to watch participants move shovels of sand enjoyed comments from Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Hospitality Management of Springfield, Mo., along with ASU System President Charles L. Welch, A-State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, and Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission Chair Jerry Morgan.

Damphousse emphasized the valuable partnerships that have brought the project to fruition. Students in the Neil Griffin College of Business hospitality management program, other A-State programs, and ASU System sister campus programs will benefit from the hands-on learning opportunities at the natural laboratory, the hotel and convention center.

"We see many other potential opportunities with both the community and our own First National Bank Arena for larger conventions and entertainment shows coming to our region," Damphousse said.  "For our region and our city to continue to attract and retain jobs we need to build more amenities like the Red Wolf Convention Center.  Arkansas State and our ASU System are serving as the hosts, and are partners with O'Reilly Hospitality Management, who is providing the financial investment.  Together we are creating a facility we believe will make the entire region stronger."

He commended the Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission, which has approved financial incentives to make the project feasible for the long-term benefit of the area.

According to O'Reilly Hospitality Management officials, Embassy Suites by Hilton is an upscale, all-suite hotel brand.  The full-service 203-suite hotel and 40,000-square-foot convention center with attached Houlihan’s Restaurant are scheduled for completion in late summer of 2019.

Located on the A-State campus under the terms of a long-term land lease, O’Reilly Hospitality and the university will use the facility to assist in enhancing and expanding the university's hospitality management program. The Embassy, Red Wolf Convention Center, and Houlihan’s Restaurant will serve as a “living laboratory” for the hospitality program providing students internships, classes in a working hospitality environment, and access to mentorships and guidance within the Hilton and O’Reilly Hospitality systems.

The facility is designed by Butler, Rosenbury & Partners, Inc., architects of Springfield, and the general contractor is Clark Contractors, LLC of Little Rock.  The complex is designed to meet LEED Gold-certification standards.

“We are pleased that this day has finally come, and we could not be more ecstatic about our partnership with Arkansas State University, Hilton and the City of Jonesboro to bring this long-awaited facility to life,” says Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Hospitality Management. “This upscale hotel convention center and restaurant complex will bring an incredible amount of vibrancy, business, conventions, meetings, and events of all types to Jonesboro and will significantly bolster the local economy.”

Welch, on behalf of the ASU System, expressed appreciation to those who have worked to make the project possible.

“We’re grateful to Tim O’Reilly, his management team and his investors for their commitment to this transformative project. It’s going to positively impact Arkansas State University, the City of Jonesboro and the entire region. We value the relationships we have with existing Jonesboro area hotels and other tourism-related businesses and look forward to seeing the growth everyone will ultimately enjoy as a result of this partnership."

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