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At Lake Lanier Islands, PineIsle Resort's walls come tumbling down

Demolition makes room for new 350-room luxury hotel

POSTED: April 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Demolition began Monday on the old PineIsle Resort at Lake Lanier Islands. The 34-year-old former centerpiece hotel of Lake Lanier Islands is being leveled to make way for a new resort.

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A few well-worn mattresses piled in a parking lot were among the last signs of PineIsle Resort at Lake Lanier Islands.

On Monday, workers clad in hard hats tossed out doors, ceiling tiles and old plumbing fixtures from the 254-room hotel.

The windows and balcony railings are gone, and the empty corridors now give a view through the shell of the lakefront resort.

BilMar Environmental of Braselton has been working for six weeks on removing the remaining interior portion of the 34-year-old hotel.

While its plate glass doors that welcomed thousands of guests are long gone, the large front desk of the hotel sits behind the rubble of the once grand lobby.

Grier Todd of Lake Lanier Islands Management Co. said large excavation machines that will knock down the exterior walls were being moved into place on Monday and will begin their work late today or early Wednesday.

Todd expects the work to continue until the first week of June.

"They’re removing the concrete portions, grinding them up and then hauling them away," Todd said. The demolition has been very meticulous because of the property’s close proximity to the shore of Lake Lanier.

In the place of the old PineIsle will be a yet unnamed luxury hotel with 350 guest rooms.

"We’re in final negotiations with potential partners for the hotel. In all of our scenarios, we’re looking at an opening in the spring of 2011," Todd said.

The final design will not be completed until the current hotel is completely razed. However, Gwinnett businessman Virgil Williams, who owns the lease on Lake Lanier Islands, has envisioned a hotel with a rustic but luxurious design as seen in the great lodges of the American West.

"This is going to be an incredible addition to Hall County," Todd said. "The new hotel will probably have 150 to 200 full-time employees and will impact the tax base of the county."

The four-star hotel has an estimated price tag of $100 million.

The PineIsle opened in 1974 and was the host to a number of major events, including a stop on the LPGA tour.


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