Library: still no on hotel | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Library: still no on hotel

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 2:02 PM

The Central Arkansas Library System board of directors voted today to approve a letter from CALS director Bobby Roberts that reiterates the library's opposition to a new seven-story hotel proposed for the corner of Clinton Ave. and Commerce Street, even though changes to address their concerns about height and scale of the building have been made.

On hand to speak in favor of the hotel project were developer Jimmy Moses, Downtown Partnership director Sharon Priest and Wes Townson, VP of McKibbon Hotel Group of Gainesville, Georgia, the company that wants to build the hotel. Addressing the board in opposition were David Knight, general counsel for Stephens, Inc., which owns the Capitol Hotel; and Curt Bradbury, CEO for Stephens.

After a presentation by Townson, Knight rose and proceeded to compare the hotel developers to pirates from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, who see laws as only "guidelines." This prompted Townson to call the comments "unseemly," after which Bradbury, clearly agitated, said that he and Knight were invited guests to a public forum, and inquired whether they should leave. After Townson asked for time to respond, the board chairman refused, and went so far as to suggest that Townson and Stephens, Inc. representatives actually should leave until he was reminded that the meeting was indeed open to the public.

After leaving the meeting, Bradbury and Townson had a heated conversation in the foyer of the board room, with Bradbury telling Townson that his comments had made "an everlasting opponent for everything you try to do here." Townson then stormed off to the elevators.

We'll have video from the meeting up soon.

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