Hotel proposals sought for Gwinnett Center

DULUTH -- Tourism officials have called for proposals for a 300-room hotel at the Gwinnett Center.

The hotel had been considered a key feature to the Sugarloaf Parkway facility, which includes an arena, a museum and theater and convention space. It was first proposed in 2007, but the economic downturn stalled the project.

"We are really just testing the waters, to see if the current business environment is ready to move on this project, and if the interest is still there," said Preston Williams, CEO of the Gwinnett Center and the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Because some conventions won't consider a facility without an on-site hotel, the building could help Gwinnett's tourism industry, Williams said.

While officials are proposing a public/private partnership, Williams said the project would be required to be fully developer-financed without any county or visitors bureau financial assistance.

The GCVB's request for proposals is available at www.gcvb.org/partners/board-of-directors. Proposals are due Jan. 13.