|July 1, 2002 - When's the last time you heard
of an environmental group presenting an award to a developer?
It actually happened on June 27 on St. Simons
Island off the south Georgia coast, where the local environmental and neighborhood
preservation group presented its first-ever "Good Developer" Award to George
and Michelle Stewart, owners and developers of the new Village Inn on St.
the island community. "They elected to work with
local neighborhood and environmental activists to build an inn that fits
in with the spirit and character of the St. Simons Island community."
|The 28-room inn is located in the
heart of the island community's historic Oceanfront and Lighthouse District
adjacent to St. Simons Island Park. It was designed by St. Simons Island
architect F. Larry Evans, AIA, in the traditional Spanish Resort style
of other area landmarks such as The Cloister and the King & Prince.
"It's not often you hear of an environmental group
giving an award to a developer, but in this case, George and Michelle Stewarts
are eminently deserving of this recognition," said Randy Dobson, RUPA board
member and long-time resident of
Village Inn and Suites
St.Simons Island, Georgia
Dobson said the Stewarts had gone the extra mile
by saving all eight of the 150-year-old giant live oaks on the site, and
planting two other young live oaks of about 25 feet in height.
They also preserved the existing one-story beach
house that had stood on the site since the 1930s, transforming it into
an office, lobby, and pub, complete with the original stone fireplace.
What's more, Dobson said, the Stewarts went to extra expense to install
a special grass-paving system for parking, instead of simply pouring a
concrete or asphalt slab.
"The Stewarts could have done this project the
easy way, and been well within government codes and regulations," Dobson
said. "They could have cut down most of the oaks, torn down the beach cottage,
poured a big concrete slab for parking, and put up a conventional square
"They probably could have saved a lot of money
and been open for business a good two years sooner," he said. "But to their
credit, they chose to do it the right way, setting an example that other
developers who come to our island would do well to emulate.
George Stewart said the RUPA Award ranks with
the biggest highlights of his business career. "I've been a resident of
St. Simons Island for about 10 years, and have been coming here since I
was a boy," he said. "Michelle and I had just seen enough of the mediocre
development that's plagued the coast for years, and we just decided that
it was up to us to set a much higher standard for our inn.
"It's great to see that our efforts have been
recognized," he added. "We feel very honored to be the first developers
to ever receive the RUPA Award."