Building Boom in Bentonville, Arkansas Ahead of Crystal Bridges Museum Opening

What’s the best way to pump a whole ton of money into a small town? Simple: pump a whole ton of money into building a gigantic museum with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art that people will flock to see. Such is apparently happening in Bentonville, Arkansas on the eve of the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The massive Moshe Safdie-designed complex, set to open in November and founded by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, is pushing the town into high gear, as the AP reports that construction will begin in September on “a luxury hotel that will be designed to host travelers” and that the city is already “upgrading water and sewer lines for the hotel.” There are already more than a dozen places to hang your hat in and around Bentonville, but the city is likely (and perhaps rightly) expecting a big uptick in visitors this winter and wanted to have something a bit nicer than the Hilton on Walton Blvd. Though given that the Wal-Mart headquarters has long called the town home, we’re sure that that Hilton was already pretty nice. We just think it would be fun to see a Four Seasons or a Ritz in a town of less than 40,000 people. Yep, that’s the sort of thing that we find fun.