Wed., June 9, 2010 4:02pm (EDT)

Jekyll Okays Development Deals
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 4 years ago

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga.  —  
The Jekyll Island Authority has selected the same developer who runs the upscale Jekyll Island Club Hotel to build and run a new hotel for conventioneers on the state-run island, known for being a place where "average Georgians" can escape.  (photo Orlando Montoya)
The Jekyll Island Authority has selected the same developer who runs the upscale Jekyll Island Club Hotel to build and run a new hotel for conventioneers on the state-run island, known for being a place where "average Georgians" can escape. (photo Orlando Montoya)
Jekyll Island officials finalized deals Wednesday with three private developers who will complete a long-planned make-over of the state-run island park.

Developers will spend about $80 million to build two hotels and a retail center.

The state will spend about $50 million to upgrade the island's convention center and build a new public park.

The renovations have been four years in the making and dogged by questions.

First, there was the size of the development. It was scaled back.

Then, there was a controversial developer. He's no longer involved.

Lingering questions remain, however, about how the upscaling will affect the ability of average Georgians to get a cheap room on the island.

Jekyll Island Authority Executive Director C. Jones Hooks says, affordable is different than cheap.

"You cannot build or you would be less than good stewards if we were to come forward with proposals today that would be to present lodging facilities that would go back in time and would not meet today's standards," Hooks says. "We're certainly going to still have rooms that are going to be affordable on Jekyll Island."

The numbers, however, leave that up for debate.

Officials say, the new hotel for the convention center will average $170 dollars per night.

That hotel will be managed by the same developer who manages the upscale Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

A new "mid-scale" hotel will average $130 dollars per night.

Construction is set to begin in October and be finished by mid-2012.