About seven months after official groundbreaking at the site, city officials report significant progress on the construction of the boathouse at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, a $21 million project being built for additional meeting space, conferences and events.
“(The boathouse) is framed at this point, and we plan to be in the new building starting in March of next year,” Gainesville’s Director of Tourism Robyn Lynch said.
Lynch, who noted that the exterior finishes of the building will be complete in July before work on the interior begins, said the boathouse was built as a temporary facility during the 1996 Georgia Olymics. Now, the city has sought to transform the facility into a larger, reconditioned venue for the public.
“We have been treating it with tender love and care for 25 years,” she said. “In order for us to grow our programs and add some special event venue space in town, we needed to renovate the building.”
The city anticipates tourists continuing to come from all around to visit the “new and improved boathouse,” Lynch said, describing the project as a potential revenue-generator for Gainesville.
“The athletes that travel to train here and the people that come here for special events bring in about $5 million in economic impact in the City of Gainesville,” she said. “It is one of our top tourism destinations … we’re going to be able to increase that economic impact by double in the future … we’re really excited about all of the opportunities.”
The boathouse, consisting of three levels, will include 17,000 square feet of meeting space, an outdoor covered terrace with a fireplace, a ballroom with seating capacity for 400, an executive boardroom, catering kitchen and patio seating on the lake.
“We’re really excited it is going to become a space for the community to use,” Lynch said. “It’ll be the only lakeside special event venue in Gainesville.”