The Gainesville City Council is moving ahead with a study to determine the feasibility of a new convention center and hotel in the northeast Georgia city. The council on Tuesday approved a bid for consulting firms to work on the study. It is designed to address market demand, economic impact, construction costs and facility operation.
Augusta’s new convention center now has the operating agreement it needs to start hosting events. Augusta-Richmond County Commissioners approved the contract Thursday night after nearly a month of contentious negotiations.
A spokesman says Gov. Nathan Deal would deny a tax break to a planned convention hotel on Jekyll Island because it would be unfair to competing hotels. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said Tuesday the governor has given plenty of support to the island state park, where Georgia taxpayers have invested $50 million to build a new convention center and beachfront park. Robinson said subsidizing a hotel would be "a step further than we could go."
After six years of planning and 18 months of construction, Jekyll Island's new convention center is opening to the public that paid for it. The 128,000-square-foot convention facility opened Sunday afternoon.
Dozens of groups are already booking meetings at Jekyll Island's new convention center, though the doors won't open for another two months. The island's staff is working to win back groups that moved their annual gatherings from Jekyll to other resorts in places like Florida.
A private company slated to open two new hotels on Jekyll Island next year can't find financing for the project. The hotels are supposed to open at the same time as a new state-financed convention center. Without the hotels, the state-run island could have trouble attracting convention business. Island officials have told developers, they want to see progress by June.
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 officials say, that investment will help bring more tourists to the state-run island.