Special Photo - The proposed hotel, which would be attached to the convention center, would help recruit major events to the area, officials say.
DULUTH -- Taxpayers would not be on the hook for a proposed headquarters hotel at the Gwinnett Center, according to terms preliminarily approved by tourism officials Wednesday.
Instead, the 30-year deal could net more than $64 million in additional hotel and motel and property taxes.
"That's why you do these deals," said Jeff Sachs, a consultant with Strategic Advisory Group, who said headquarters hotel deals typically include some financing from the government. "You put it back on the tax roles.
The proposal from Nilhan Hospitality for the 300-room Marriott to be built at the Sugarloaf Parkway convention center already includes $57 million in secured financing, which was originally put in place to build a hotel nearby.
"It's a win-win scenario," said Chuck Thakkar, a developer with DCT Group who put together the proposal, one of four submitted to the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We see this as an opportunity as an additional room generator. It's going to be great for us, and great for the county, in terms of marketability of the arena."
The visitors bureau board gave unanimous approval Wednesday to the terms, which stood out among the others because it did not seek public financing. The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners has the final say, so tourism leaders plan to present their reasoning in the coming weeks.
Thakkar requested a relatively quick decision, so he could begin design work either at the Gwinnett Center or the location across the street. He hoped to have construction complete by the fall of 2014.
Preston Williams, the CEO of the visitors bureau, said if the deal moves forward, officials would be updated about design decisions for the hotel, which will include a fitness center, a pool, meeting space and a ballroom, as well as a parking deck.
The hotel, built to green design standards, is expected to bring 170 direct jobs and another 300 to 350 indirect jobs, Thakkar said.