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— By El Dorado News-Times staff

El Dorado’s downtown will see a new addition to the Murphy Arts District by mid-2020 with the announcement of a new boutique hotel.

In a news release, officials with the locally-based ownership group announced that the new hotel, called The Haywood, is scheduled to have its groundbreaking in early 2019 with a target opening of March 2020. The hotel is anticipated to cost more than $14 million and will be developed by Newmark Moses Tucker Partners of Little Rock.

The new addition will be located near Washington Avenue and Locust Street, just down the street from the Griffin Restaurant and First Financial Music Hall, and one block away from the downtown core.

The land was contributed by BancorpSouth and deeded to the current ownership group. The project will be financed by 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 public relations efforts, and Beechwood Hospitality will manage and oversee all hotel operations.

Ray Nolan, senior VP of development for Newmark Moses Tucker Partners, did not respond to a message left Wednesday afternoon by a News-Times reporter asking about who was in the ownership group of The Haywood. When asked, Bob Tarren, chief marketing officer of the Murphy Arts District, said he could not verify the members of the ownership group.

Austin Barrow, MAD president and COO, said in the release that 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 gave credit to 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,” Barrow said. “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.”

The new hotel will have four stories and 70 rooms, all on the second, third and fourth floors. It will include a pool and outdoor courtyard that will include a prominent fireplace and manicured landscaping. The area will be able to be reserved for private events, the release noted.

Nolan said in the release that programming and designing the first floor of the hotel will be a major focus of the project.

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