LOVEJOY — Officials are hoping to bring an economic boom to southern Clayton County.
The county’s southernmost city is looking at a feasibility study to determine the benefits of courting a hotel brand to build a “quality” hotel and convention center.
Lovejoy Mayor Bobby Cartwright said a new hotel would be the only one south of Morrow in the county. It would serve visitors to Fayette and Henry counties as well.
“What Lovejoy has is an opportunity to rival what’s going on in the northern end of the county,” said Cartwright. “This is for Lovejoy to be the premier city in Clayton County.”
Cartwright said he hopes pursuing a hotel brand will add to the city’s infrastructure and attract other businesses, specifically “big box” department stores and retailers.
There is a untapped stretch of highway available for new development, he said. Most of that, however, is on the northbound side of U.S. 19/Ga. 41, also known as Tara Boulevard.
The city council is considering contracting with Michael Bryant, owner of Bryant Construction Group in Fayetteville, to conduct a $2,500 feasibility study on the issue.
Members heard from him this week.
Bryant presented an initial proposal to pursue a 90-unit hotel and convention center that could be built along the highway.
“It’s a great opportunity — something that will be a major enhancement for the county,” he said. “If this vision becomes a reality, it’s going to be for the greater good of everyone.”
Bryant is studying the potential impact a hotel would have on the city economically and logistically. He said the hotel would cost an estimated $7.2 million — about $80,000 per unit for fixtures, furniture and equipment.
He said he believes the hotel would be most successful on the southbound side of Tara Boulevard, which already gets the bulk of retail traffic.
Councilwoman Rebekah Holland Wright said she is excited about plans to pursue more development for her city.
“We’ve been trying to get this for years,” said Wright.
Cartwright said he believes now is the right time for the city to invest its time in courting new business.
“We are a very attractive city to come to,” said Cartwright. “Interest rates are perfect if you’re going to build a big box. The city is in a central location that gets a good amount of traffic and visitors. And all of that matters.”
He pointed out that the city is between two growing filming hubs in Fayetteville to the west and Hampton to the south. Located a few miles south of the Clayton County Justice Center, Lovejoy is also near active venues such as Nash Farm Park and the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Henry County.
He said that, if all goes well, the city could see a hotel break ground on new construction as soon as the end of the year.