Jekyll project facing delay
The Brunswick News
January 09, 2013

A company responsible for redeveloping oceanfront land on Jekyll Island wants to wait until 2015 to move forward with plans that have been in the works for almost five years.

Trammell Crow, the firm chosen to replace two razed hotels, told Jekyll Island officials in early 2011 that it was facing financial difficulties in getting the projects started. Now, the company has asked to wait until 2015 to take action.

Jekyll Island Authority board members voted to table the request at their last meeting, and no action has been taken by Jekyll officials.

"As far as we're concerned, it's not something that was even considered," said Eric Garvey, chief communications officer for the state park. "We expect them to follow through with the lease terms that they have."

Trammell Crow representatives did not return phone messages left by The News on Monday and Tuesday.

Originally, plans called for a $120 million project, named Canopy Bluff, to have 301 rooms and 127 condominium rental units, plus a conference center, five swimming pools, a full-service restaurant and spa. A hotel, to be called the Inn and Suites at Georgia Coast, would combine a small inn with about 30 beachfront cottages.

The company revisited the plans in 2009, aiming to size them down and combine the two projects into one.

David Egan, co-founder of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island, an advocacy group for residents of the island, says he isn't concerned about when the properties are redeveloped. He is more concerned about what the development will be.

The proposed plan could be too large and too upscale for what the island needs, Egan said.

A 120-room Hyatt Place and 200-room Westin hotel are expected to break ground this year near the Jekyll Island Convention Center to form a beach village.

Those nameplates don't come with a cheap pricetag, Egan said, and too many high-end hotels on the publicly owned island could be hard to support. "If I'm Trammell Crow and I see this stuff being built down there, I'm thinking, 'Can Jekyll really support all of this?'"

The Brunswick News printed the following correction to the story above: In a story on 1A Wednesday, the year which Trammell Crow asked the Jekyll Island Authority to delay development plans on Jekyll Island was incorrect. The correct year is 2018. Also, the original plan for Canopy Bluff is no longer under consideration.