The Board of Directors of the Georgia Writers Museum has agreed to purchase the storefront location it currently occupies in downtown Eatonton, as well as two adjacent buildings now occupied by retail businesses.
“We’re very enthusiastic to have a permanent home we can reconfigure, floor to ceiling, as a classy museum that will attract in-state and out-of-state visitors” said George Heiring, Museum president. “This purchase also gives us plenty of room to expand when the time is right.”
“For five years, our dream was to renovate and occupy the historic Eatonton Hotel on the opposite side of the courthouse,” Heiring observed. “It clearly had a lot of visual appeal and potential. But the capital investment required for us to occupy that three story property was formidable. We were facing the challenge of raising just under a million dollars to renovate a county-owned property in return for highly favorable long-term rental.”
Lou Benjamin, president of Lake Country Arts, the non-profit organization that gave birth to the Georgia Writers Museum and the Artisans Village, was instrumental in bringing another alternative to the attention of the Writers Museum board.
“When the museum’s current storefront property came on the market as part of a three-building parcel, I thought it might be an option for its board to investigate,” Benjamin said.
“Opportunity knocked and, after serious deliberation, our board answered. As it turned out, we obtained extremely favorable terms to purchase the entire parcel giving us a positive cash flow from the two adjacent leased spaces. We felt the location was excellent for foot traffic and it offered room for expansion. Those advantages that were available to us for approximately one third the expense of occupying the hotel.”
Both Heiring and Benjamin expressed excitement about the extensive changes already underway at the Writers Museum, including new lighting and new displays incorporating video and interactivity. “When we have our official re-opening ribbon cutting on June 24, visitors are going to see a reimagined museum. We’re making it a celebration,” Heiring said, “so, come see what we’ve done.”