Located just north of the Cobb County line is LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson. And although the development may not be located in Cobb, it’s expected to benefit the residents, businesses and area greatly.
On track to be one of the largest and most unique destinations for travel sports, the 1,300-acre LakePoint development will feature state-of-the-art sports venues and 5 million square feet of amenities, including on-site hotels, restaurants, themed retail, bowling, ziplines, water parks and more. A study by Georgia Tech estimates approximately six million people will visit LakePoint annually, generating about $250 million in tax revenues and the state garnering $50 million each year. In addition, 26,000 jobs are being generated by the project and 1,200 people will work there once completed.
“This complex brings a multi-facet of benefits to Cobb County residents, in addition to being a field alternative for rainouts,” says LakePoint Co-CEO Earl Ehrhart. “The Cobb Convention and Visitors Bureau have seen tremendous growth in the year-over-year hotel and restaurant revenue. Residents and business owners are feeling the positive effects of LakePoint.” Ehrhart, who is also a Georgia State Representative, adds that he imagines the sales tax from people coming through Cobb and/or staying in Cobb will be “pretty darn good” with the number of restaurants, attractions, hotels and more that the area offers. “The tax revenue and general economic impact are both areas of immediate and accelerated growth,” he says. “Cobb County is our neighbor, and when the campus is full, they feel the impact even before we do — at least on the hotel and breakfast side!” One such Cobb business benefitting from the development is LOUD Security Systems, which is based in Kennesaw. A multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement states that LOUD will be the exclusive provider for all of the complex’s surveillance camera systems, access control systems, security and fire protection equipment and monitoring.
Ehrhart says to imagine the complex in phases of experience. Phase 1, 2014-15, “Come Here to Play;” and Phase 2, 2016 and beyond, “Come Here to Play and Stay.” “When you’re at LakePoint, you’re here with friends and/or family, and we have built synergistic environments so that our guests feel at home, even when they’re on the road,” he continues. “South Campus is for sports and North Campus is a mix of sports and entertainment. The retail and hotel outliers will develop gradually over time, and since we have a high return rate on our guests, we think they’ll enjoy reflecting on the maturity of LakePoint as much as we do. Our social media has been our greatest medium for communication to our nationwide audience. That is truly the best way to follow the LakePoint progress.”
Ehrhart adds that there was a need for a multi-sport complex like this because of the area being a travel sports community. Families spend about 30 percent of their time and income on travel sports, missing out on the opportunity for sports vacations. “LakePoint aims to be the premier sports vacation destination, not to substitute other sports venues, but to facilitate a vacation atmosphere for creating lifetime memories,” Ehrhart says. “The fields are built to attract large numbers of teams, but the attractions are priced and purpose-built for anyone to enjoy. Each retail parcel is also carefully evaluated for a unique fit in a nationwide mold.”
Cobb Backing Complex
“LakePoint will be awesome for [the North Atlanta Soccer Association] because it gives us the premiere tournament venue in the state, provides us with turf fields during rain outs and will help draw teams from around the country to come play at the NASA events,” says NASA Executive Director Dave Smith who is overseeing all North Atlanta Soccer. “LakePoint will also help NASA provide top-level soccer programs for the people of north Cobb and surrounding areas.”
NASA, a nonprofit youth soccer organization that has served youth in Cobb for decades, currently serves about 3,000 members with hundreds of children on its wait list. The program has won multiple state championships, including the 2013 U19 Girls National Championship. NASA has used LakePoint as a venue for one of its events so far and Smith says it was a huge success. “I believe LakePoint will not only have a significant impact on NASA but with all youth sports as they will have events for all sports: football, baseball, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, lacrosse and basketball,” Smith adds.
Cobb Commissioner Bob Weatherford, who has visited the development and lives about six miles from it in Acworth, says it’s one of the most professional and complete complexes he’s ever seen. “It certainly will [benefit Cobb] and we have been actively following it and embracing it through Cobb Travel and Tourism. Holly Bass and her staff are actively engaged and assisted in preparing for it in Cobb. The county has redefined the Northwest Corridor future land use plan to reflect expected development in that area. The ‘halo’ effect has already benefited Cobb as there is a planned new hotel in Acworth and two new gun ranges in Acworth and Kennesaw.”
When asked what Weatherford is hearing about LakePoint from others, he says, “You have to see it to believe it! It is so huge and comprehensive. … We can see it becoming another destination travel spot for years to come. It is part of the tsunami that is Cobb — LakePoint, KSU with 32,000 students, Town Center at Cobb, White Water, the Atlanta Braves complex, Cobb Galleria and Six Flags. We are a tourist and sport destination.”
“No one community can live in a vacuum,” Weatherford concludes. “We must always strive to work together. Most visitors have no concept of city limits or county borders. They just see Atlanta. That is why we rebranded Cobb Travel and Tourism to ‘Atlanta’s Sweet Spot!’ A rising tide floats all boats and the LakePoint complex will certainly benefit Cobb, as well as all the attractions we have in Cobb benefit them.”
Learn more about LakePoint, in addition to events at the complex, by visiting lakepointsports.com.