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Aug. 22, 2019
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Conference Center at Lanier Islands moves another step closer to reality

By Pamela A. Keene
 
Building a new conference center at Lanier Islands has taken another step toward reality. The second phase of research and study is expected to be presented to the board of the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority in the coming weeks. 
 
“The LLIDA board authorized $695,000 for additional study in Phase II, and that will determine concepts of what the project may look like,” said Bill Donohue, executive director of authority that oversees the operation of Lanier Islands on behalf of the state of Georgia. 
 
The first phase, which began in mid-2018 at a cost of $185,000, included market evaluation, research and feasibility, as well as the financial ramifications and economic impact of building a new conference center at Lanier Islands. Once that research was reviewed, the LLIDA board authorized further study to determine the building’s plan and scope.
 
“We expect a report from the contractors that will include concepts of what the building might look like, including number of rooms, the amount of meeting space, parking and other amenities,” Donahue said. “One of the deliverables will be an estimated price tag for the project.” 
 
The proposed new conference center is expected to replace the former PineIsle Resort which opened in 1974. That property was demolished in 2008, three years after it was closed by its most recent operator, Marriott. Virgil Williams and Lake Lanier Islands Management Company took over the lease and management of Lanier Islands in 2005. The company holds a 50-year lease.
 
In these early stages, there is no specific timetable for completion, which will be dependent on a number of factors including securing funding and approvals by the Corps of Engineers and other government entities.
 
The proposed new conference center is expected to bring additional economic impact to Lake Lanier, Hall County, Northeast Georgia and the state when it is completed. However, there is no specific timetable for the project.
 
Donohue said he and the LLIDA board members are hopeful that the conference center will become a reality.  “It’s moving along at a good timeline and the contractors have been doing great work,” Donohue said. “The project has been received with a great deal of interest and enthusiasm.”
 
The next meeting of the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority is scheduled for June 14, at Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands.

Posted online 5/28/19
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