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Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 11:00am

Hotel Delays Costing Jekyll Business

Updated: 2 years ago.
Jekyll Island officials are now predicting it'll be the middle of two-thousand-14 before a new convention hotel will open. The state-run island relies on tourism and recently finished a $50 million rehab of its convention center to attract business groups. (photo: Jekyll Island Authority)

Jekyll Island is losing convention business while it waits for a new hotel.

Delays in the financing of a Westin resort have led to at least two groups to hold their meetings elsewhere.

The Association of County Commissioners of Georgia is the largest group to pass on Jekyll Island.

But the Georgia Forestry Association also has said they won't meet there until a new hotel goes up.

The state-run island recently finished a 50 million dollar convention center renovation to attract more business groups.

Jekyll Island Authority spokesman Eric Garvey says all that's missing is the new Westin.

"Right now we're looking at hopefully a groundbreaking in January," says Garvey. "And the hotel would open sometime in the middle of 2014."

Garvey blames recession related financing delays.

"We're very optimistic. We know that the plan is going to come together. I want people to understand that it's not a dead project," says Garvey. "We're just working through delays that are just related to difficulties in the economy."

Without the hotel, the new convention center lacks the space, quality and convenience of a Westin right next door.

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