At its May 17, 2010 board meeting, the Jekyll Island Authority selected three contractors to build the two hotels, retail center and condos that will be part of the Jekyll town center project, the construction of which will begin later this year and is scheduled for completion in mid-2012.

There was some surprise that a local group that has done business on Jekyll for decades and knows the island well lost the bid to build Jekyll’s new 40,000 sq. ft. retail center to Winding Road Development Company of Scottsdale, Arizona.  In explaining the JIA’s rationale for selecting Winding Road, Authority spokesman Eric Garvey stated that the company has experience with similar resort development, having built oceanfront projects in Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Sandestin, Florida. “They understand what makes a resort-style retail village work,” said Garvey.

Also a surprise is the absence of the economy hotel that was to be included within the Jekyll town center. That concept was abandoned in favor of a mid-scale hotel—to be built by a Colorado firm—that will have an average daily room rate (ADR) of about $130. The second hotel in the town center will have an ADR of $170 and will be built by the owners of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

The Authority board plans a June 9 meeting with the three firms to go over design concepts for the beach village and how they'll share management duties and profits from the new developments. IPJI will report those details when they become available.

A description of each of the projects can be found in three press articles below.

Jekyll Island board picks new development partners for state park's makeover

Associated Press

By Russ Bynum
May 18, 2010

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. — The Jekyll Island Authority chose three developers Monday to take over key pieces of the state park’s extensive makeover, which hit a snag six months ago when its main private partner backed out of the project.

Rather than hire another single developer to tackle all the privately funded components of the island’s redevelopment — an investment estimated at $80 million to $100 million — Jekyll Island’s board of directors voted to divide them among different firms.

One developer will design and build 40,000 square feet of space for retail shops in the project’s centerpiece beach village. The others will develop two new hotels nearby.

State-owned Jekyll Island has been spent years planning the 46-acre redevelopment in hope of reversing a slump in tourism and convention business by replacing the island’s musty hotels and outdated meeting rooms.

But the island authority had to scramble to get back on track after Atlanta-based Linger Longer Communities, the firm chosen in 2007 to develop the beach village, pulled out in December.

Both parties blamed the economic recession for scuttling the deal, saying the developer was unable to get the financing it needed to meet construction deadlines.

Jones Hooks, Jekyll Island’s executive director, said Monday that bringing the new partners on board now puts the authority back on schedule to finish the village’s retail shops and hotels by the time the island’s new state-funded convention center opens in two years.

“In the summer of 2012 we will see the beach village ready to open,” Hooks said. “We feel like we’ve been moving at lightning speed.”

hich includes a new beachfront park that broke ground just before Linger Longer backed out in December.
For the retail portion of the beach village, the authority picked Winding Road Development Company of Scottsdale, Ariz., a firm that’s developed resorts from Canada to Mexico.

To build the project’s 200-room convention hotel, the authority chose a developer closer to home — Jekyll Landmark Associates, the owner of the historic Jekyll Island Club hotel. A second hotel of up to 140 rooms will be built by Phelps Development of Greely, Colo.

Before Linger Longer pulled out of Jekyll Island, its 25-year contract to manage new developments had been widely criticized by residents, who said the deal gave too hefty a share of the profits to a private developer building on state land.

Van Hart, a Jekyll Island shop owner, applauded the decision to break up the projects among different developers.

“I think this is much smarter,” Hart said. “They made a mistake. The authority never should’ve put all their eggs in one basket.”

Details of the agreements between Jekyll Island and its new partners won’t be available for several weeks. The authority board plans a June 9 meeting with the three firms to go over design concepts for the beach village and how they’ll share management duties and profits from the new developments.

Jekyll board selects new developers

The Brunswick News

May 18, 2010

The Jekyll Island Authority rolled over the speed bump of having to find new developers for its revival plan for the island Monday by announcing developers for three projects and receiving a design for a new convention center.

The three projects include two new hotels and a beachside village of new retail space.

Owners of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel were selected to develop a new 200-room, full-service beachfront hotel. The site will be the village green, adjacent to the planned new convention center.

Phelps Development of Greeley, Colorado, in partnership with The Chhatrala Group of San Diego, California, was selected to develop a new 120- to 140-room, mid-scale hotel in the heart of the new beach village, a block from the new convention center.

The hotels will be part a national chains that have yet to be determined, said Eric Garvey, spokesperson for the state-owned island.

Winding Road Development Co. of Scottsdale, Arizona, was selected as the developer for the 40,000-square-foot beach village retail space. The plan includes a mix of restaurants, shops, a bank, post office, a village green for entertainment and up to 60 loft residences.

All components will be adjacent to the new convention center.

The beach village, along with the convention center, is expected to be completed by summer 2012.

"It's so exciting to see where we're going," said Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority, of revitalization projects on the island. He said the board has met all of its time goals.

"With this economy, we were concerned about what may be received or what may not be received," Hooks said about seeking developers for the projects.

In December, Atlanta-based Linger Longer Communities, the firm chosen in 2007 to develop the beach village and hotels, pulled out of the project because of the failing economy.

The Jekyll Island Authority then decided to split the privately funded components of the island's redevelopment among different firms, instead of hiring a single developer.

In keeping with the summer 2012 timetable for a new convention center, Michael Chatham, the project's lead architect, presented an update to board members Monday on the design of the 128,000-square-foot building.

There will be a 45,000-square-foot exhibit hall that can be divided into smaller areas and 12 meeting rooms that wrap around the convention center, some of which will have views to the ocean.

With more space, the new center will be able to attract conventions of up to 2,500 people. The current center is limited to about 1,200 people, Garvey said.

Outdoor terraces will be features of the building, along with awnings, large overhangs, outdoor porches and a fire pit similar to the one at the new Jekyll Island Hampton Inn & Suites, 200 South Beachview Drive.

"Sustainability is key," Chatham said.

He added that the convention center design is on track for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, a designation that means it would be environmentally friendly and efficient.

Special features include possible wind turbines to generate electricity, a rainwater collection cistern for irrigation water and flushing of toilets in the building, solar water heating, recycled and regional materials and low-emissions materials.

Developers selected for Jekyll Island revitalization project
Three developments - hotels, apartments, stores - will cost $76 million

Georgia Times-Union

By Carole Hawkins
May 18, 2010

JEKYLL ISLAND - By the time Jekyll Island State Park unveils its new convention center in the summer of 2012, there will be a beach village surrounding it.

The park's governing authority selected three contractors on Monday to build hotels, stores and loft apartments off Jekyll's main beach as part of its town center revitalization project.

Owners of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, doing business as Jekyll Landmark Associates, were selected to build a 200-room, full-service convention center hotel. Phelps Development of Greeley, Colo., will build a 140-room mid-scale hotel, and Winding Road Development Company of Scottsdale, Ariz., will develop 40,000 square feet of retail stores and 60 loft apartments.

The projects are estimated to cost a combined $76 million and will complement a new, $50 million convention center and beach-side park, which the state is building.

The authority had originally awarded the entire beach village contract to a single developer, Linger Longer Communities, but scuttled the deal in December when it appeared the Atlanta-based company would not be able to secure financing and build in time for the convention center's opening.

In January Jekyll Executive Director Jones Hooks outlined an aggressive schedule to find replacement contractors and keep the project on track.

"We've met our deadlines, and we're moving forward," Hooks said Monday.

The authority pared down the three companies selected from nine original bidders, based on reputation, commitment, financial viability, shared values and whether they could finish by deadline, Hooks said.

Jekyll Landmark Associates edged the competition by designing a project that stayed true to the authority's vision for a fully integrated beach village, Jekyll communications officer Eric Garvey said.

The full-service hotel will offer a three-meal-a-day restaurant, be accessible to the rest of the village and will incorporate a day spa, something meeting planners have been asking for.

"They totally understand that the beach village has to work together with the convention center and the park," Garvey said. "They understand our lodging inventory and our market and came up with a plan that will attract a broader selection of convention center clients."

Hooks praised Phelps Development for its creative design, saying its new mid-scale hotel would have a uniquely Jekyll look. Garvey complimented the company for including meals served cafe-style from a lobby/bar, something not typically found in a limited-service hotel.

Garvey said the authority selected Winding Road Development to build Jekyll's retail space based on the company's long experience with similar resort projects. The company has built oceanfront projects in Cabo San Lucas, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Sandestin, Fla.

"They understood what makes a resort-style retail village work," Garvey said. "They design for an authentic look that makes guests feel like they're walking through a village that's been there for a long time."

Hooks said the company's experience with retail operations was also impressive.

"They understood things like what percentage of restaurants you should have and how much 'action' retail there should be - like a shop where you see someone making candy. That carries a lot of shoppers' interest," Hooks said.

The authority will vote on final contracts for all three companies at a special meeting on Wednesday, June