By: Luke Matheson

The Convention Center and Hotel Public Facilities Board met Thursday afternoon in a meeting that was originally scheduled to approve an architectural firm to move forward with the Marriott Hotel project at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, however, changes are being made and the approval has been tabled until a later time.

Parekh Architects, PLLC was originally slated to get the contract. However, the board decided to move on after “liability” issues presented themselves.

Board member Letrece Harris explained the situation.

The original item that was tabled would have been to approve the payment of funds to Parekh Architects so they could begin their work, but the new architect, Chasm Architectural Firm, may not require a prepayment for services, according to Harris.

The board will take the time to research local banks to see who can provide the best services for them as this project moves forward.

The hotel project is a $24 million project, but the City of Pine Bluff will only provide just $2.91534 million for the project. Board Secretary-Treasurer Rosalind Mouser explained where all of the funds will come from for the project.

$18 million for the project has been provided by a USDA loan. Mouser gave more information on that loan, that will cover the bulk of the project.

The board will host a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20 before the next scheduled Pine Bluff City Council meeting in order to give time to the community to ask any questions about the project. The hearing will be held in Council chambers.