Business: Major changes in ownership, management at LakePoint detailed by Cartersville newspaper.

Business: Major changes in ownership, management at LakePoint detailed by Cartersville newspaper.

An aerial photo of LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson just off I-75 from the development’s website Thursday morning.

 

It was the capping event of 2012 not only for Bartow County but much of Northwest Georgia. Bobby Cox, Fredi Gonzalez and Ned Yost — three men with strong ties to the Atlanta Braves organization — helped front the December announcement of the coming of LakePoint Sporting Community and Town Center in mostly rural Emerson. It was billed as a hug for team sports — especially red-hot youth baseball — and future home of the latest Bass Pro Shop in Georgia.

After several years in a holding pattern, LakePoint took off, drawing as many as 1 million guests especially in the summer months, using the eight baseball fields nearly nonstop. Volleyball, wakeboard riding, putt putt golf, a major game room and finally a massive indoor multisports complex were built.

Hotels came as well with more said to be in the works. Fast food likewise arrived with the next opening due soon, a Taco Bell off the main road and the connector to the development’s north campus.

Bass Pro never made it and has since been removed from the development maps given the retailer’s mixing with Cabela’s (which opened its 100,000-square-foot store just a few exits down I-75. We’re told that Bass Pro could have other plans here.

Amid all the growth, baseball has been king, especially with partner Perfect Game, a relationship with Georgia Highlands and a quick alternative for high school teams especially during a rainy spring season.

Last month, LakePoint was the feature of a glowing report in the Rome News, speculating about its fifth summer and the expected crowds. Background

Less than a month later, another newspaper reports just the opposite, detailing substantial shakeups and changes as that summer season approaches.

The Cartersville Daily Tribune News has been tracking some of those reports and this week posted a story about changes on top. You can read the entire article here; a preview appears below:

According to two Bartow County officials, the LakePoint Sporting Community complex in Emerson appears to have a new owner.

Both County Commissioner Steve Taylor and Emerson Mayor Al Pallone told the Daily Tribune News that they have had conversations with California hedge fund manager Rimrock Capital Management LLC about their visions for the future of the $1 billion development.

Furthermore, Taylor said he’s heard rumblings that Rimrock may have actually taken over ownership of the complex from LakePoint Land LLC more than a year ago.

Neither LakePoint or Rimrock, however, have publicly given definitive answers to the question of who exactly owns the development — or how much say the owner has in day-to-day operations and future business decisions.

“From what I understand, it went from having a pretty big debt, now [Rimrock] owns LakePoint,” Taylor said. “They seem to be committed to the master plan — it looks like the project will be going forward as originally planned only with different management.”

Pallone said that he has had several meetings with representatives of Rimrock about their ideas for the complex.

(It goes on to add:)  LakePoint Land CFO Bob Zurcher did not confirm or deny that Rimrock had taken over ownership of the development, but he did say that two managing members of LakePoint are no longer serving in executive leadership roles.

Neal Freeman and Earl Ehrhart — formerly co-managing members and co-CEOs of LakePoint Land LLC — have transitioned out of their respective positions with the company, Zurcher confirmed.

Hometown Headlines will continue to pursue updates on what’s next for the sports complex, including related developments in the community. The latest is the Villages at Red Top, using the property that at one time was to be a neighboring amusement park.

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