Plans for a new hotel on Phoenix Avenue in Fort Smith are being finalized by a developer who has built five hotels in the area, including one that reopened in July after a 2018 fire.

A building permit for the $4.9 million project at 7111 Phoenix Ave. next to Fish City Grill was issued Aug. 21 to Marion Driscoll Construction. The location is near the Fort Smith Regional Airport.

With plans for 110 guest rooms and suites, the new hotel will bring the number of hotel guest rooms in the city up to 2,728 when it is completed next year.

Marion Driscoll, the developer, said a confidentiality agreement bars him from disclosing the name of the hotel until a later date.

The Fort Smith Planning Commission at its April 9 meeting approved a variance request on the hotel project to Neal Morrison of Morrison-Shipley Engineers for an interior side-yard setback from 20 feet to 7 feet at 7111 Phoenix Ave. A Fort Smith Planning & Zoning staff report noted the approval would allow for a 20-by-14 foot storage building associated with the hotel development as long as it was made with “high quality” materials.

Aspen Hotel & Suites

Claude Legris, executive director of the Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission, said the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau currently has 2,618 motel rooms supporting it with the recent reopening of Best Western Aspen Hotel & Suites, 2900 S. 68th St.

The Aspen, which was also built by Driscoll, reopened July 4th weekend after more than a year of remodeling work spurred by a fire that started outside the hotel March 22, 2018. The reopening will help boost the July CVB financial report following what Legris said was their "best month ever" in June. The CVB collected $91,273 in June from the 3 percent lodging tax that supports the CVB.

Driscoll has developed five hotels in the Fort Smith area, including Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites in the 7000 block of Phoenix Avenue. Other hotels built by Driscoll include the Aspen; the GuestHouse Inn, 3600 Grinnel Ave., in Fort Smith; and the Hampton Inn by Hilton, 1916 N. Sixth St., in Van Buren.