|By Erika Capek, The Brunswick News,
Ga.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jun. 10, 2010--The Jekyll Island Authority took another step forward in its revitalization plan for the island Wednesday, approving $75 million worth of private development for two hotels and a beach village retail area.
Sticking to an initial completion date of mid-2012 for projects, authority members said during a special meeting that they are excited to see revitalization moving forward.
"I think it's a hallelujah day that the board has approved three quality developers," Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, said.
The owner of the long-established Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Jekyll Ocean Oaks, will develop a 200-room, full-service beachfront hotel adjacent to a new convention center. The average room rate will be $170 per night.
A separate mid-scale hotel will be developed by Phelps Development of Greeley, Colo., in conjunction with The Chhatrala Group of San Diegop.
Both hotels will be part of national chains, although a brand name for the full-service hotel has yet to be determined.
The mid-scale hotel, with room rates at $130 per night, is tentatively to be a Hyatt Place hotel, Eric Garvey, spokesperson for the authority, said.
Hyatt Place hotels typically range from 125 to 200 rooms, and have a coffee and wine bar, food service and space for small business meetings.
Winding Road Development of Scottsdale, Ariz., will develop the 4-acre beach village. Plans call for 40,000 square feet of retail space and 60 loft residences, all adjacent to the new convention center.
Construction of the three projects will begin in October, Garvey said.
Garvey said the three projects, in line with the opening of the new convention center, should be completed by the middle of 2012.
The state will spend $50 million for a new convention center and public facilities, including Great Dunes Park, a nearly 20-acre beachfront space with roads and infrastructure. The first phase of the park will be completed this summer.
"This has been a long time coming," Bob Krueger, chairman of the Jekyll Island Authority, said of the overall plan.
Atlanta-based Linger Longer Communities, the firm chosen in 2007 to develop the beach village and hotels, pulled out of the project six months ago because of the failing economy.
The Jekyll Island Authority then decided to split the privately funded components of the redevelopment plan among different firms, instead of hiring a single developer.
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