Sandy Springs Hospitality & Tourism, the city tourism agency, is studying a possible move out of its Roswell Road “Welcome Center” that could make more room for its neighbor, the state-run “Anne Frank in the World” Holocaust exhibit.
The Hospitality & Tourism board on Feb. 25 approved a $53,175 facility needs assessment and basic design for a new building by Rosser International, according to city spokeswoman Sharon Kraun.
“We’ve kind of outgrown the space,” Hospitality & Tourism Executive Director Jennifer Cruce said of the Welcome Center and offices in the Parkside Shopping Center at 5920 Roswell Road. The agency just added two staffers and had to convert its conference room into offices, she said, and the lease expires in about two years.
The Welcome Center sits beneath the Anne Frank exhibit, operated by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. “The Anne Frank in the World exhibit could use more space as well,” Cruce said, adding that the city will see “if it’s realistic for us to combine spaces.” However, the city has not yet talked with the Holocaust Commission, she said.
Mayor Rusty Paul chairs the Hospitality & Tourism board. In the Feb. 25 meeting, Kraun said, “the mayor talked about a desire to grow the audience for the Anne Frank exhibit, and to do that additional space is needed. He also told the board that the city would like to get out of rental and into ownership.”
Hospitality & Tourism has no spots in mind for a new home, Cruce said, adding that the needs assessment is a key step in coming up with possibilities. “You don’t know what you can do until you know what you need,” she said.
The city’s massive City Springs redevelopment on Roswell Road features a new City Hall, but the final design did not include a Hospitality & Tourism office after early discussions, Cruce said. Rosser is the architect on the City Springs project.
“It would be nice to continue to be a welcome center and have a public face,” she said.
City Springs, set to open in late 2017, includes a huge theater that likely means more work for Hospitality & Tourism, another factor to consider in finding a permanent facility.
“When you put a performing arts center in the city center…there’s going to be additional demand on us,” Cruce said. “I’m looking forward to all the changes we’re going to experience in the next couple of years.”