A Bass Pro Shops store and the Atlanta Braves' Spring Training site are set to accompany what Commissioner Clarence Brown called the "biggest thing Bartow has ever seen," according to a Major League Baseball news report.
In the article in part comparing Kansas City Royals Manager Ned Yost to theme park visionary Walt Disney, Yost said LakePoint Sporting Community and Town Center's projected 3 million visitors per year are a "guarantee" and served as the green light for the $1 billion project just outside Cartersville.
Yost, along with other investors, including heavy hitters such as former Braves manager Bobby Cox, a Bartow resident, and current Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, are partners in the venture, which initially would provide more than 2,000 jobs, but at build out could bring as many as 26,000.
While the Braves' next Spring Training for its 15th year is set for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Bartow's unemployment rate preliminarily stood at 11.3 percent in October, the most recent figures available from the state.
To be constructed first, the core of the Emerson development branded as Georgia's version of the ESPN Wide World of Sports, according to Atlanta Business Chronicle, is a 300-plus-acre complex with numerous baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields, and an indoor sports facility.
Three tenants will anchor LakePoint: Perfect Game USA, a baseball scouting service set to bring its operation and tournaments to Emerson; the North Atlanta Soccer Association; and LB3 Lacrosse. LakePoint also will play host to Shaw Industries' Sportexe Division—a reported $40 million investment for the sports turf manufacturer—and its own Sports Development Group.
Commercial additions are set to include a number of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment and amusement facilities.
Earlier this month, Bartow Contractors Association was seeking information from local companies and suppliers interested in grading and other work at the site.