A recent vote by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners clears the way for discussions to begin on constructing a $57-million Marriott Hotel at the Gwinnett Center in unincorporated Duluth.
The favorable vote at the commission’s Nov. 6 meeting means that “the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau can proceed to negotiate with Nilhan Hospitality,” according to Lisa Anders, executive director of the GCVB.
The proposed hotel would connect with the Gwinnett Center so that hotel guests could walk from the hotel’s lobby into the center. Having a convention center hotel would allow Gwinnett County to be more competitive in attracting conventions.
The negotiations between the GCVB and the potential hotel developer will likely begin after Thanksgiving in early December, Anders said. These discussions will focus on formulating a recommendation for leasing a two-acre site on the county’s Gwinnett Civic Center property to Nilhan Hospitality. Gwinnett County staff will be assigned to serve as a liaison between the GCVB and the county.
A “term sheet” approved by the GCVB will serve as the basis for the negotiations, Anders said. The GCVB approved the term sheet and selected the Peachtree Corners-based developer for the hotel project last April. The length of the lease would typically be 99 years, she said.
The lease recommendation will have to go before the Gwinnett Commission for a vote before the hotel can be developed. “The county was very clear that nothing is binding until the county commission votes on it in the future,” Anders said.
The hotel would be privately financed. Gwinnett County would have no legal obligation to finance or operate the hotel, which would be managed by Concord Hospitality. The hotel could possibly lease the county property for $1 a year.
The hotel would generate an estimated $65 million or more in tax revenue for the county.
The Gwinnett Commission authorized the GCVB to start negotiations on a lease recommendation by a vote of 3-1 with Chairman Charlotte Nash, Commissioner Jace Brooks and Commissioner Lynette Howard voting in favor. Commissioner Mike Beaudreau voted against it.
Commissioner John Heard, an architect who specializes in hotels, abstained from the vote because he serves as a consultant for a company affiliated with Nilhan Hospitality on other projects. Heard previously served on the GCVB Board, but resigned.