The first quarter of 2008 for Gwinnett Center has been filled with exciting news and changes. In March, we broke ground on a brand new 800-space parking deck for The Arena. It will provide direct access to our club level for patrons and suite holders. It has also been proposed that additional meeting space on the top floor of the deck be included for anything from office space to private pre-concert events. The entire construction process should take about one year to complete.
The parking deck is the beginning project of what has been proposed for the expansion at Gwinnett Center. The master plan, which includes a four-star, on-site hotel and the creation of additional space for the Convention Center is in the beginning stages of planning and development. These suggested expansions have been well received on both the public and private sides of the development.
Changes to the facility and to the county have led to internal changes as well. Effective since the beginning of April, I have accepted the position as General Manager of the Gwinnett County Convention and Visitors Bureau. This allows me to not only continue overseeing projects at Gwinnett Center, but also assist with the creation of the new stadium that will be home to The Gwinnett Braves. We foresee this change to have a positive impact on The Arena, the stadium and Gwinnett County by bringing everyone”s vast experiences and ideas together.
With my new position at the GCVB, SMG has promoted assistant general manager, Joseph Dennis, to executive director of Gwinnett Center. He will be taking over many of the day-to-day responsibilities of the center, including assisting with the development of the parking deck and master plan. Dennis is currently serving as SMG Corporate Operations Support, primarily in the engineering, energy and maintenance areas. He has served as a key player in the construction, design and operation of the $92 million dollar expansion of the Gwinnett Center, which included the 21,600-square-foot Grand Ball Room at the Convention Center and the entire Arena construction process.
Recognized by both academia and the industry for his mastery of engineering and refrigeration, Dennis received a Gold Medal from President Reagan in 1984 for his achievements in the field. He has also served as a corporate director of engineering for LMI, providing construction, design and operations support for several arenas, convention centers and multi-purpose facilities.
We look forward to the continued success of Gwinnett Center and for the citizens and leaders of Gwinnett County.