Natalie Springfield, a LakePoint Sporting Community representative with Smartegies, confirmed on June 25 that Bass Pro Shop had placed an option on the land. However, she said the company had not closed on the land.
When the memorandum of understanding was first signed with Bass Pro Shop on Dec. 27, 2013, it was believed the store was going to open in 2014. That is no longer the case, with 2015 generally cited as the next opening date.
LakePoint Co-CEO Earl Ehrhart said Bass Pro Shop was looking to have the store open before 2015’s baseball season. When asked for comment, Bass Pro Shop Communications Specialist Katie Mitchell said the company was looking at a mid-2015 to 2016 opening date.
Although construction at the site has not gotten underway, work is progressing on a road that will connect the planned store to the relocated Ga. Highway 293, Springfield said. The road project was awarded a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank grant on May 28. According to a press release from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, the Red Top Community Improvement District, which oversees infrastructure within the LakePoint property, received a $2 million grant for “a new roadway connecting to State Route 293 within the facility’s South Campus, providing the transportation infrastructure necessary to accommodate a projected 5 million annual visitors and more than 20,000 new jobs.”
Though he could not speak for the company, Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor believed the grant was a positive sign Bass Pro Shop would follow through with its plans for an Emerson store.
“But the encouragement was that they did take a 14-acre parcel, an additional 14, which means the footprint will be even more than it was,” he said. “I don’t think they would have optioned that property if they had any kind of inclination that they were going somewhere other than Emerson.”
When first announced, the planned store was valued as a $22 million investment that would create 90 to 120 full-time jobs.