Merry Acres venture moving forward

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Even though it is under new management, the current owners of the Merry Acres complex are aiming to keep the same traditions its previous ownership maintained.

Bo Henry went before the Albany Rotary Club Thursday to discuss with the community what the future plans are for the facilities he and a partner recently acquired.

When word of the Merry Acres sale came through, Henry and Stewart Campbell announced they would be spending more than $1 million on renovations to the property.

"Our overall goal is to keep going with (the traditions) the Dozier and Stanfill families set," Henry said. "We're excited, and we feel proud to buy something the Dozier family owned. We feel we bought not only a good property, but a good name."

The complex had been owned by the Dozier family since 1953. At that time the Merry Acres hotel consisted of 22 guest rooms. Now there are 110 rooms on the grounds.

The purchase made in June includes the hotel as well as the adjacent restaurant and events center. And more than 30 employees are part of the package.

Drawings for the facility, drafted by the Albany-based Yielding, Wakeford and McGee architectural firm, show what changes are set to be made to the house on the property -- which is currently being used as the registration area for the hotel.

"We want to bring focus back to the old farmhouse," Henry said. "It is such a neat place."

For the house specifically, a covered porch will be added, along with a balcony where tables and chairs will be placed. There will also be a bar on the first floor for hotel guests.

Henry and Campbell also plan to establish a city club, which will also have use of these services.

"There will be a very minimal fee (for club membership)," Henry said. "Members will have use of the bar and the pool during the summer, and get discounts for an event room or a hotel room if they have someone coming into town.

"We want to get community involvement back with Merry Acres."

The hotel rooms will be supplied with new towels, sheets, mattresses, TV sets, paint jobs and renovations to parts of the bathrooms. The property will also be getting surveillance cameras and full night-time security.

"Our plan is to go out into the community and let people know that if a guest of theirs comes into town, we can guarantee it will be a good place to be," Henry said.

The Merry Acres restaurant will likely be opened in the next year for breakfast and lunch, and during the evenings it will be rented out for events, much as is currently being done with the events center.

The plans released for the second floor of the house include three event rooms that people will be able to rent out. Bids for construction will go out next week, with renovations to start in November.

"Stewart and I are very excited," Henry said. "We are so excited and ready to get started."

The cost to rent a room is $65-$85 a night. Once the renovations are done, costs will increase to $79-$109.