The Clarence Brown Conference Center is getting some company the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has announced that a 117-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel will be built right next door, with groundbreaking as early as July.
The hotel will be constructed on the east side of the conference center, where a parking lot with an outlet to Roving Road is today. The hotel will not be physically attached to the center, but the two facilities will be connected via breezeways and a shared courtyard.
Ellen Archer, executive director of the CVB, said the hotel could open as early as late next year.
"Conservatively, you`re looking at a six-month [window] between the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020," she said.
No rezoning will be required for the hotel to be constructed. Permitting, environmental studies and final architectural plans, however, must be approved before development can officially get underway.
Although Archer said an agreement has been made with the hotel developer, it`s still not a 100 percent done deal at the moment.
"The funds have not been transferred," she said, "but the financing package is in place."
She didn`t have a concrete number for how much Marriott International was investing in the project.
"There are all kinds of amenities that could be added," she said. "The ballpark figures are about $120,000 per room for hotel development of that caliber."
As for the planned amenities, CVB Business Development Manager Michele Sims said the hotel will have an in-house restaurant, a Starbucks cafe, a bar, a convenience store, a fitness room and at least one swimming pool.
Archer said the hotel will also have a meeting space of its own, likely in the 5,000-6,000 square foot range.
The total square footage of the hotel remains unknown, but Archer said it will not exceed four stories.
The facility itself will be constructed on what is currently Bartow County-owned property. No additional land has been purchased to facilitate its development.
"We have been reaching out to various hotel developers, really, since 2010, with a real push on it in the past 18-to-24 months," Archer said. "It will be so great for the conference center because sometimes we fall short of just a couple of rooms we need to get a group in."
Archer said Cartersville has lost out on some big events because the conference center was without an adjoining hotel. She said the center and the hotel will not only benefit one another, but even other hotels in the area.
"Rather than sucking business out of our other hotels, or sucking business away from other rental facilities, it`s going to bring in businesses that we were not even in the running for before," she said. "What`s so great about this is when we do multi-day conferences, people are not going to be scattered."
Sims also said the hotel will make a big economic impact along the Highway 20 corridor.
"That`s really going to spark development, because the Courtyard plus the conference center is going to be an anchor," she said. "Right now, there aren`t a lot of dining options on Highway 20, so the food and beverage aspect of the hotel is going to be pretty significant."
The announcement of the hotel, Archer said, also heralds future additions and annexes to the conference center. The first order of business, she said, is pouring for another lot. She also said she would like to add "at least 5,000-10,000 more square feet of meeting space" at the center.
"We will have to do some grading of that hill back there, put up some new parking and we`ll have to create another service entrance," she said. "There`s 20 acres here and you`re probably seeing about 12 ... there is expansion room."
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