State officials marked the official start of construction on the centerpiece of Jekyll Island's multi-year revitalization project.
The Jekyll Island Convention center will cost the state about $50 million.
But Governor Sonny Perdue says, that investment will help bring more tourists to the state-run island, which has seen visitation stagnate in part because of aging and inadequate facilities.
"Jekyll Island is a natural beauty," Perdue says. "Our citizens and our organizations would love to meet there if we afforded them the accommodations that are necessary for their members."
Private companies also are putting up new hotels.
A beach-front park and new retail space round out the revitalization project, which was significantly scaled back a few years ago when the recession hit.