Thursday, April 26, 2012
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Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash is "excited" about the possibility of a headquarters hotel at the Gwinnett Center -- especially since the proposal would take no money from the government.
"It's been a dream for a long time," Nash said Thursday of the 300-room, full-service hotel, which has been a part of the plan of the Sugarloaf Parkway convention center for years.
"There was never a situation that required so little from the government," Nash said of Nilhan Hospitality's $57 million bid, which is fully financed. Usually, a similar partnership would ask for either a money contribution or government-backed loans.
But with the county still tightening its budget because of continued drops in housing values, which lead to lower tax revenues, Nash said members of the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau understood that asking the government to pay a part of the venture would be "a hard sell."
"We don't have anything at risk with the way this one will be structured," she said. "Right now, we're all about (weighing) risk."
Nash noted that the process was in its early stages, with the visitors bureau board approving its recommendation to commissioners Wednesday.
Commissioners could take up the proposal in the coming weeks, but if they do approve the initial term sheet, there will have to be further negotiations.
But because the hotel could mean even more convention business for the county, she said the possibility deserves a look.
"I'm anxious to see the full set of evaluations," she said. "We're excited to get a viable proposal."