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CEO says Paulding will get overflow of business from youth sports complex
by Tom Spigolon
December 11, 2013 11:07 AM | 4070 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lakepoint CEO Neal Freeman, left, talks with Suzanne Cosseboom, center, and Chad Reynolds of Jim ‘N Nick’s Community BBQ.
Lakepoint CEO Neal Freeman, left, talks with Suzanne Cosseboom, center, and Chad Reynolds of Jim ‘N Nick’s Community BBQ.
Paulding County motels and restaurants will see a major influx of business from the thousands traveling from outside Georgia to sporting events at the new Lakepoint complex when it opens in mid-2014, the facility’s chief executive officer said last week.

Neal Freeman of Lakepoint Development Group said his company’s new $1 billion sports and entertainment development covering more than 1,000 acres in south Bartow County will need more than 30,000 hotel rooms in just one week after it opens in the summer.

“We need Paulding County hotels. We need Paulding County restaurants, because people eat near where they stay,” he said. “Over 70 percent of our guests will be coming from out of state.”

He also said the massive facility is working to help increase the number of customers for businesses outside the Lakepoint area.

“We’re committed to bringing in commerce, not taking it away. Lakepoint is committed to being the high tide that raises all boats. If we do not enhance commerce in Paulding County, we have failed,” he said.

“The chance of us not raising the tide [in Paulding] is nonexistent, in my opinion.”

The 1,300-acre – about two-square-mile – sports and entertainment complex will run alongside a three-mile stretch of I-75, Freeman told the Paulding Chamber of Commerce during its monthly luncheon meeting. The facility will have venues for 32 sports.

One weeklong event for one of those sports in July will require 30,400 motel rooms, he said.

“This will show the impact. When we finish our buildout, we plan on having 20 hotels with 3,400 rooms. That means they’re still 27,000 rooms short,” Freeman said.

Freeman said Lakepoint officials also are committed to working with any government or organization that wants to “enhance the Lakepoint experience” and showcase it to those using the facility.

“I can’t wait to show off this region, this area, to the rest of the world,” he said. “We’re going to have a great platform. People are going to be coming in, literally, from every state east of the Mississippi and Canada.

“I welcome this county and your neighbor and everybody in this room to come on as a host partner with us, with the goal that every coach, parent, player, umpire [and] scout says, ‘Wow, that was a great region, I could live there but, at a minimum, I’m coming back every year.’”

Lakepoint already has events lined up events for 320 of the 365 days following its opening, Freeman said.

The facility recently announced the Extreme Volleyball Professionals Tour will play matches at the facility’s beach volleyball area June 27 and 28. More than 100 semi-pro and professional teams and 300 players are expected for the event.

It also recently announced a partnership with golfer Greg Norman, whose company Greg Norman Golf Course Design will be part of a planned 30-acre, nine-hole, par-3 course, a full-service practice range and Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy to offer instruction and coaching.

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