Residents give nod to plans

The Brunswick News
May 19, 2010

Tise Eyler of Jekyll Island resident is excited about the revitalization efforts taking place on the state-owned island.

His excitement comes after the Jekyll Island Authority named developers Monday for three projects, including two new hotels and beach village retail space.

"I'm excited," Eyler said. "It's because things were really scaled back from the original plans several years ago. The scaled-back development makes sense."

Eyler is referring to developer Linger Longer Communities, which originally proposed a Jekyll town center spanning 63 acres in 2007. He said he hopes the new finished product will continue to be a town center.

"Jekyll is a community, not a resort," Eyler said.

Other residents once vehemently opposed to the redevelopment of the island as proposed by Linger Longer when it was in a partnership with the Jekyll Island Authority also feel differently today.

Mindy Egan, resident and co-director of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island State Park, is just as pleased that the plan was scaled down.

"We're certainly at a better place than we were two years ago," Egan said.

Linger Longer is out of the picture now, severing its partnership with the authority because of the recession.

As a resident, Egan said the designs of the new convention center look lovely.

"It has a timeless look," Egan said. "They've done a really great job with (the design)."

Egan did have concerns about some components of revitalization, including the affordability of the two new hotels and the accessibility for day use of the beach deck area.

It is not known at the time which chain will seek the franchise.

She also was disappointed that a local group, which would have used local resources, wasn't chosen as the developer for the new retail space.

Jekyll Island Promenade Partners, LLC, from Jekyll Island was passed up in favor of Winding Road Development out of Scottsdale, Arizona, for building the retail space.

Despite her disappointment, she said she is sure the Jekyll Island Authority had valid reasons for choosing the out-of-state developer.

The state-owned island has spent years planning the redevelopment in an effort to increase tourism and convention business.

The beach village, along with the convention center, is expected to open in the summer of 2012.