Saturday, November 3, 2007

09/20 - Jekyll hotels create buzz

Section(s) Local News
By HANK ROWLAND
The Brunswick News

It will be about two months before work begins on the first new hotel on Jekyll Island, but already two projects - Jekyll Ocean Oaks and a $90 million hotel/condo beachfront complex - are a hit.

"With the announcement of these projects, our phones have been ringing again with convention groups wanting to return or bring new meetings to Jekyll Island," said Eric Garvey, marketing director for the Jekyll Island Authority.

Callers will have quite a while to wait. Both projects will take from 18 to 24 months to complete.

Work on the 138-room Jekyll Ocean Oaks hotel won't begin for another two months and will take about 18 months to bring to completion, Garvey said. Construction is slated to begin in November and to be finished in time for a June 2008 opening.

The hotel, a Marriott SpringHill suites select service hotel, will be built on the beachfront on the south end of the island on the former site of the Holiday Inn, which has been demolished.

Garvey said the project will include an adjacent free-standing restaurant with space to accommodate meetings, weddings and social functions in a beachside village setting.

"The SpringHill Suites' exterior design has been modified with custom architecture that leverages the character of Jekyll Island and fits within the natural dune setting," he said.

The natural environment will be kept intact as much as possible, Garvey said.

"The site plan for the new hotel has been carefully worked to limit impact on existing trees on the site," Garvey said.

The hotel will be affiliated with the Jekyll Island Club.

The separately proposed $90 million multi-use development, the subject of controversy among Jekyll Island residents and a state senator, will take about two years to complete. Construction is expected to begin once the Buccaneer motel on the south end of the island is razed, a project that is scheduled to begin in October.

The development calls for a 300-room mid-market, family friendly conference-oriented hotel, Garvey said. It also will include a 120-plus room hotel-condominium, outdoor pools, an indoor pool and 17,000 square feet of meeting space.

A full-service restaurant, fitness and spa facilities are other features that are planned.

Garvey said there also is the job creation side to such a large-scale development. He said some 250 to 300 people will be employed during the construction phase and 275 to 300 permanently when the facility goes on line.

The project became enveloped in controversy after the Jekyll Island Authority approved incentives worth millions of dollars for its developer, the Trammell Crow Co. Island residents and state Sen. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, have questioned the need for any monetary break.

To Garvey, it is the dawning of a new era for Jekyll Island.

"These new hotel projects are very important to the future of Jekyll Island and fit nicely with our overall revitalization efforts," Garvey said. "We want to bring back a healthy supply of lodging that will meet the demands of our broad market, and provide high-value, affordable options to our guests."

1 comment:

Nedra said...

Well written article.