Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Oceanfront Hotels Are in the Works for Jekyll; Trammell Crow Planning to Spend $88 Million on the New Upscale Resorts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Oceanfront Hotels Are in the Works for Jekyll; Trammell Crow Planning to Spend $88 Million on the New Upscale Resorts

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

JEKYLL ISLAND | A developer that rode out a depressed financial market since 2006 announced Monday it will spend $88 million on Jekyll Island to build three oceanfront hotels.

Bob Abberger Sr., managing director of Trammell Crow, said the company will split the grounds of the former Buccaneer and Beachview Club hotels on the island into three properties on which they will build a 210-room Courtyard Marriott, a 150-room Springhill Suites and a 175-room full service hotel that will be named later.

Each of the hotels on the combined 15.5 acres will be four stories - meeting the 54-foot maximum height restriction - and their rooms will all have ocean views, Abberger said.

The Marriott will cost $32 and the Springhill will cost $24 million and each should be open by the end of 2015. The third hotel, which Abberger said could be the most upscale of the three, should open by the end of 2016.

"We're saving our most beautiful property for last,'' he told the Times-Union.

Abberger also asked the Jekyll Island Authority board to reduce the company's lease payments, which total about $300,000 a year, in half during construction "to help us get out of the ground."

The board voted to accept the concept, but it will consider the design at future meetings and closing on the property is still months away.

"We are bullish after a long waiting period to be a part of the revitalization of this island,'' Abberger told the Times-Union.

He marveled at the amount of progress underway on a new Westin hotel and the new retail center just south of the convention center and at progress on other properties.

The convention center was a great selling point for investors and it helped make the hotel projects sustainable, he said.

"It helped us stay the course ... This island is ready to go,'' he said.

"At last,'' board member Sybil Lynn said of Trammell Crow's plans during a break in the morning meeting. "That's a big commitment, two hotels and then a third one."

And they're not just any hotels, board member Bob Krueger said later.

"We've gone from no flags to major flags,'' he said calling the Marriott brand a "reservation machine. …

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