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City supportive of 'Devine's, Downtown' concept

Word of the day: Divine

2. A. Supremely good.

B. Heavenly, godlike.

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Divine. In dictionary. Retrieved July 30, 2021, from

701 Central Ave. — Photo by Charlie Devine

Charlie and Jonna Devine, owners of The Hot Springs Bathhouse Dinner Theatre, recently announced plans to demolish their current structure that sits at 701 Central Ave. and build a 10-12 story entertainment complex called "Devine's, Downtown." Charlie Devine said they plan for the project to be complete within 18-20 months. Deputy City Manager Lance Spicer said 20 months is "probably reasonable," and after sitting down in a presentation meeting with Devine, Brian Hill of Hill and Cox Construction, David French of French Architects and numerous city officials in fire and public works departments, the city is supportive of his plans.

"It's a great project, and the city had a chance to sit down with him (Devine) and we're very supportive of his project," Spicer said. "It's something that will be very unique to Hot Springs."

Spicer noted Devine has not yet submitted anything official to the city, and that the meeting was more "conceptual" and "exploratory," but with "very specific things" mentioned.

In order for the project to officially move on, Spicer said it must go through the city's Planning and Development Commission and then receive approval from the city's Board of Directors. Devine said he expects this process to be "fairly easy at this point" since "everyone has seen it (and) everyone knows about it" as a result of multiple meetings.

Devine said some parts of the project could be up and running as soon as 12 months from now.

The estimated total cost of the project is $18-22 million.

"We do have some investors and some private money and then banks and economic development corporations and other things from other entities such as grants and tax credits and so-forth," Devine said, adding that "some of it is set in stone, but I don't know what they're, as far as whose making it public and so-forth, I don't know what their thought is on that."

Placed in the heart of downtown, Devine said the complex will be designed in the "Hot Springs-fashion," having a historic look.

"Downtown can use a little injection of some new since there's so many deteriorating buildings, so we're looking forward to that (and) the city is looking forward to it," he said.

"We look at this really as, it's a Hot Springs project," Devine said. "... Hot Springs is all about drawing people downtown, it's all about giving the visitors and residents things to do, entertainment, and we know that it's going to be a lot of work, but we also know that it's going to be a lot of fun and we're just going to have a grand time working on it, and then of course running it whenever it's open."

According to a press release from Devine, the complex will include the following:

• A classy, casual boutique hotel with 45+ rooms, each having their own balcony.

A 400 plus seat state of the art theatre to be used for multiple daily live music, comedy, magic and theatrical shows.

• The Majestic Movie Theater offering multiple daily showings of new film releases.

• Hot Springs Bike Rental.

• A multi-story indoor rock climbing wall and Dave and Busters Style arcade games.

• The Hot Springs Gangster — a themed restaurant and bar with live entertainment

and costumes.

• Charlie's Eats and Drinks — a rooftop bar and grill with live entertainment.

• Quick Mart Fast Food.

• Crazy Good Frozen Custard.

• Dinner Theatre.

• A wedding and event open-air venues on the large rooftop and other high up rooms with floor to ceiling glass.

• Retail and office space available for lease.

Devine estimates the complex will bring approximately 300 full- and part-time new jobs.

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