"We are really excited about the change to the Marriott,t brings national name recognition," says Gretchen Hall, President and CEO of Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.
City leaders are banking on name recognition to boost Little Rock's profile and the number of conventions that come to town. Hall says the city is looking forward to benefiting from the Marriott's popular rewards point system, and the buyer's $16 million investment into building renovations.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola says,"We think it shows substantial investment in the city and ultimately in tourism and economic development and business travel our convention hotel will create."
Not everyone is thrilled.
"We need some ducks," says Little Rock resident Robert Purvis, referring to the popular live duck shows at the Peabody.
Some visitors say it's the Peabody's uniqueness that's drawn them back to town, time and time again.
"The Peabody is so speciaI. I can go to a Marriott anywhere I can go to a Marriott at home, can't go to a Peabody at home," said visitor Alison Wieniger.
In the new agreement the city's advertising and promotions office will get roughly two percent of lodging fees. Both leasing parties still have to work out the final phases of the sale. Under the new lease the hotel can operate as the Peabody until August at the latest. It will be the only full service Marriott in Arkansas.