-Is the new downtown Dahlonega hotel on the horizon?
A vacant corner now marks the spot where the Parks and Butler buildings once stood for more than a century off the Dahlonega square
However, according to local businesswoman Roberta Green-Garrett, construction for a downtown hotel project that will fill that empty lot is close at hand.
“We should be starting anytime now,” said Green-Garrett on Monday. “We’re finalizing the bid process for the contractor that will be building it.”
With green temporary fencing becoming a familiar sight on the downtown stretch, The Nugget attempted to determine a time frame for the upcoming project that drew protests from some members of the community.
As of yet there has been no official starting date or completion date to report.
Yet Green-Garrett told The Nugget that once the bid process is completed construction of the hotel project should commence shortly afterward.
“We’re just getting our prices worked out with the contractors,” Green-Garrett said. “We have four companies currently bidding on the project. A couple of them don’t have their bids sent in yet. But, once we get them all in and finalize that process, we will begin construction.”
THE CITY WAITS
City manager Bill Schmid told The Nugget that the city has not received a construction timetable from Green-Garrett in regards to the project, but that the city is working together with the local businesswoman to move the project forward.
“The site is already permitted,” said Schmid. “Technically, they have the right to start moving dirt and building foundation walls, storm drains and things like that. The city has asked for a construction schedule, but we haven’t received that yet.”
The hotel project design has several conditions which were imposed by the city council in a consent order approved last year. As of yet, no final hotel design, which adheres to those conditions, has been submitted by Green-Garrett.
“All designs still stand as originally submitted and voted on by the council as well as the consent order,” said Dahlonega Mayor Sam Norton.
When the construction of the hotel project does begin, both Green-Garrett and Norton agree that they will attempt to ensure that it’s not too much of an inconvenience to locals or visitors of Dahlonega.
Norton, who recently saw similar construction projects happening in Asheville and LaGrange, said the city council are in agreement that they want to keep the downtown area as close to normal as possible during the construction of the hotel.
Asheville and LaGrange both closed the sidewalk, on street parking and one lane of traffic in order to accommodate for the construction. That’s something that Norton and the council are against.
“We, the council and I, are resisting this approach to Main Street construction and road closure while limiting disruption to downtown businesses and pedestrians,” Norton said. “As a downtown business owner, I am supersensitive to the process and get a substantial amount of feedback from the community.”
Green-Garrett told The Nugget that she also doesn’t anticipate any major disruption to the downtown square during the construction process.