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Lanier Islands hotel study could be done by mid-March
Results are expected in mid-March from a study of a possible second hotel at Lanier Islands resort in South Hall.

A study of a possible second hotel at Lanier Islands resort in South Hall is halfway done, with eagerly awaited results expected in mid-March.

“The consultants are in the data mining part (of the study) right now,” said Bill Donohue, executive director of the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority.

No early conclusions have been made yet.

“We’re trying to cover all the base points of what we have, what folks say they need … and can it be quantified into either a specific direction of a project,” Donohue said.

“Or (consultants) may come back and say there’s not that demand right now … either as to what customers want or what lenders would be willing to support.”

Donohue has said officials “have our own speculation, but we recognize that it’s an excellent site to develop and we’re just trying to understand the opportunities for what and … when.”

The authority and Lake Lanier Islands Management, which operates the 1,100-acre resort, decided in the fall to move on the study more than a decade after closing the old PineIsle Resort.

“We want to see what the real estate experts think,” Donohue said at the time of the now-vacant property. “Could it be a traditional resort conference center/hotel, a different type of lodging experience or would there be any interest?”

The only hotel property on the resort now is Legacy Lodge & Conference Center.

In the early days of family-owned Lake Lanier Islands Management taking over resort operations more than a decade ago, the company turned its attention to the 254-room PineIsle Resort.

PineIsle had had gone through a series of owners over 34 years. The final one, Marriott Corp., closed the hotel on Nov. 4, 2005.

“The roof was leaking,” CEO Mike Williams said in an August 2015 interview. “It was in bad shape. (Before it closed), they were having to sell their rooms real cheap and that was driving down rates at the other hotel.”

Marriott asked the Williams family if the company could get out of its lease and “give us the assets and the building,” Williams said.

After a long evaluation, the family decided to tear down the old hotel rather than rebuild. The hotel was demolished in April 2008.

His family’s company went on to remake Lanier Islands, including building or redoing bridges and roads, and renovating Legacy Lodge & Conference Center.