Guntersville City Harbor’s $30 million development brought bars, restaurants and soon a Hilton hotel

Five years in the making, a waterfront development in northeast Alabama with an overall price tag topping $30 million is now drawing in crowds.

Guntersville City Harbor began opening earlier this spring with a roster of restaurants, bars, shops and a niche hotel overlooking Lake Guntersville.

“The response has been unbelievable,” said Patrick Lawler, the owner and developer of the property. “It’s been so well-received.”

Lawler, who also developed the 120-acre residential The Reserve at Lake Guntersville, began construction on the project last year.

Among the tenants are:

Levi’s on the Lake, a casual bar offering cocktails, live music and games.

Home Re:Decor, a furniture and decor store specializing in interior design services, refurbished items, wedding and event planning.

The Wake Eatery, featuring an antique boat theme and a sports bar menu, with burgers, salads, wraps and wings.

Another Broken Egg Cafe, the popular breakfast, lunch and brunch chain.

The Brewer’s Cooperative, a joint project from Huntsville’s Straight to Ale brewery and Birmingham’s Good People Brewing Co., which also opened a Huntsville location.

The Cigar Room, the franchise that began in Madison, offering cigars, loose tobacco, and accessories.

Big Mike’s Steakhouse, the restaurant that began in Thomasville, with five other locations around the state.

La Esquina Cocina, the popular Huntsville-based restaurant offering traditional Mexican cuisine.

City Harbor Suites, a short-term rental condo offering 20 waterfront two-bedroom suites with balconies.

La Esquina and Big Mike’s are still a few weeks from opening, Lawler said.

The next phase will be a $15 million destination Hilton-branded hotel with about 90 rooms. Lawler said he hopes to break ground on the project within six to seven months and see it open in 2023.

A destination hotel along the waterfront had long been a goal for city leadership. Last month, the Guntersville City Council approved the hotel project through an agreement which calls for the city to sell the land to P. Lawler Enterprises for $10. Direct tax revenue from the project, once the hotel is completed, is estimated to be more than $950,000 a year.

The hotel property reverts to the city if certain development dates or requirements are not met, and plans for the hotel are subject to city approval.

The hotel, Lawler said, “will be an economic engine for Guntersville for decades to come.”

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