Fifth hotel to be built near arena

DULUTH - Work is about to begin on another Sugarloaf-area hotel.

Developer Quality Oil Co. is building a five-story Homewood Suites at North Brown Road and Sugarloaf Parkway. The 2-acre site is behind the Hampton Inn hotel.

Developers will break ground on the new 92-room hotel in a couple of weeks, said Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau spokeswoman Lisa Anders. Homewood Suites will become the fifth hotel within walking distance of the Gwinnett Center. The new hotel will bring overall rooms available in the busy area to about 600.

"New rooms are always great for us because this area needs them," Anders said.

Tourism officials are still trying to lure the next full-service hotel, which has a restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and space set aside for corporate meetings.

The Holiday Inn Gwinnett Center is the area's only full-service hotel.

Gwinnett's lodging industry is coming off a strong 2005, Anders said. Occupancy improved 10 percent countywide.