Downtown hotel construction progressing

  • Construction is moving along quickly on the new downtown hotel that’s set to open some time this summer.
    Construction is moving along quickly on the new downtown hotel that’s set to open some time this summer.
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Final franchise details surrounding the fast rising hotel in the center of downtown Dahlonega remain murky. But construction is still moving along as planned, said Mayor Sam Norton.
“The yet unnamed hotel is still on track to be completed this summer and will be in full operation for the tourist season of 2020,” he said via email when contacted by The Nugget.
A flurry of activity over the winter months has seen the former site of the Parks and Butler buildings bustling with activity as the three story building has steadily climbed in the downtown skyline.
Still the name of the franchise associated with the hotel has yet to be announced by property owner Roberta Green-Garrett.  And multiple calls from The Nugget to Green-Garrett went unanswered last week.
Community Development Director Kevin Herrit addressed the issue at last Tuesday’s city work session.
“We have not yet been given the name nor has it been announced,” he said.
Herrit added that it appears the project is still in compliance with a city consent order.
“The contractor has not stepped out of the order as far as I am aware,” he said. “He has been putting up the brick and complying to the order, as far as I know, and has been moving at a good pace.”
If the terms of the city’s consent order are followed  the building will be limited to 75 rooms and include an exercise room, a lobby, a business office area and an outdoor swimming pool.
Herrit added that recent problems with the installation of the structural beams has pushed back the time table for completion, which originally stated that the project would be finished in June.
For downtown business owner Sabrina Walker, the completion date couldn’t come soon enough.
On a recent February afternoon she stood outside of Spirits Tavern and watched as a series of traffic cones routed traffic directly through the parking spots closest to her restaurant.
“This is the third time they’ve done this,” she said. “And I didn’t get any notice from the city.”
Walker said she thinks the addition of the hotel will be great for business. But for now, she sees a direct correlation between the closure of those parking spaces in front of her restaurant and a decrease in lunch crowds.
“At 5 p.m. they’ll take everything down and everyone comes in,” she said. “You can watch it happen.”
Walker said she attempted to contact the city but received no response.
When The Nugget contacted City Hall about the issue Norton said traffic changes are a public safety matter that occurs for “short durations” when materials are being loaded onto the site.
“These traffic modifications are coordinated with public works and public safety,” he said. “These events requiring traffic changes are planned or spontaneous depending on the notification the project manager receives from the supplier.”
Walker said more communication from the city would be appreciated.
“At least tell me,” she said. “I emailed the city the first time it happened and nobody answered me.”
Meanwhile, Norton said he’s satisfied with what he’s seen from the development so far.
“The project in general has been professionally managed and is on track to be a major asset to downtown,” he said. “It is obvious from the level of inquires that the hotel will definitely be a boost to our tourism economy.  I have already had visitors, corporate entities and wedding parties inquire how to book single rooms and large blocks of rooms at the yet completed hotel.”