Jekyll Oceanfront Hotel, LLC (JOFH), (a joint venture comprised of Leon N. Weiner & Associates, Inc. (“LNWA”), a nationally recognized real estate development company, New Castle Hotels & Resorts (“NCHR”), an award winning, independent third-party hotel manager, owner and developer and other investors) today broke ground on the $41 million Westin Jekyll Island, a 200-room, convention-class, beachfront hotel that will open in September 2014 as part of the Jekyll Island Beach Village project. The ceremonies were held at the construction site, 110 Ocean Way, adjacent to the new Jekyll Island Convention Center.
“The Westin Jekyll Island is pivotal to the entire Beach Village development,” said Dave Curtis, managing partner of Jekyll Oceanfront Hotel, LLC. “It’s the perfect complement to the wonderful new convention center and the island’s relaxed and gracious ambiance. We are extremely proud to help write yet another new and exciting chapter in Jekyll Island’s rich and fabled history.”
The Beach Village project, developed by the Jekyll Island Authority, (JIA) is part of a plan to reinvigorate the island’s tourism economy and includes the only beachfront convention center in the southeast. The 128,000 square foot Jekyll Island Convention Center opened in May 2012 and is the centerpiece of the project which also includes an oceanfront promenade, village green, restaurants, retail shopping and Great Dunes Park.
“With the groundbreaking of the new Westin, we are seeing one more step toward completing our end goals of island revitalization,” said Richard Royal, chairman Jekyll Island Authority. “This is a thrilling day for all of us and we have much to be excited about as we look to Jekyll’s future.”
“The Westin Jekyll Island will be a catalyst that enables Jekyll Island revitalization to achieve its full potential,” said Jones Hooks, executive director of the Jekyll Island Authority. “Westin Hotels and Resorts are marketed as havens of wellness and rejuvenation, which is exactly the right brand for Jekyll Island. Now that Westin construction is underway, the Jekyll Island Authority is much closer to realizing our goals of increased visitation and financial prosperity. This stunning new lodging facility will be a significant draw for Georgia’s Golden Isles.”
“Jekyll Island’s style of laidback luxury and environmental awareness meshes perfectly with Westin’s goal of creating an oasis of well-being for travelers,” said Arik Kono, vice president North America development and acquisitions Starwood Hotels and Resorts. “Westin will reach the 200th hotel mark later this year and with that milestone in sight, we’re proud to join with our longtime development partners, New Castle Hotels and Resorts, in setting the stage for the next 100 Westins worldwide.”
With breathtaking ocean views and direct beach access, The Westin Jekyll Island will feature both meeting and banquet facilities alongside a full suite of Westin’s signature amenities and services. It will include a full-service restaurant and the brand’s signature WestinWORKOUT® program all designed to promote overall wellbeing. LEED design elements, coupled with the brand’s room designs which are 60 percent more sustainable than earlier iterations will ensure that the hotel will minimize its impact on the environmentally sensitive barrier island and meet guests’ desires for a more healthful hotel experience.
Close to the island’s National Historic Landmark District, The Westin Jekyll Island also will be convenient to the island’s four golf courses, 10 miles of barrier island beaches and a variety of outdoor recreation, including marsh eco-tours, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, more than 20 miles of bike paths and kayaking.
Upon completion in September 2014, the hotel will be operated by New Castle Hotels and Resorts.
About Jekyll Island
On Jekyll Island, you’ll be close to nature and close to home, and experience a place you will hold close to your heart. Located in the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is rich in history, but celebrated as a place of retreat, sanctuary and balance that has attracted guests for more than 125 years. Owned by the State of Georgia and governed by the Jekyll Island Authority, development is limited to just 35 percent of available land, to preserve the critical barrier island ecosystem.
Within the limited development, guests on Jekyll Island can enjoy nearly 10 miles of beach, more than 20 miles of bicycle trails, four golf courses, a history museum, tennis center, Summer Waves water park, wildlife viewing platforms and many other cultural and eco-tourism tourism opportunities. In 2012, the island celebrated the completion of the only oceanfront convention center in the Southeast, with more than 78,000 square feet of meeting space in a beautifully designed facility that makes full use of sustainable conservation and alternate energy technologies. For more information about Jekyll Island, please visit www.jekyllisland.com.
About The Jekyll Island Authority
Through an act of the state legislature, the Jekyll Island Authority was created to oversee the conservation and development of the Island. The Authority board consists of members appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms. The chairman of the board is also appointed by the governor to serve a one-year term. According to state law, the Authority board consists of the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources or his designee and eight residents of the state, two of whom reside in the coastal area. The members of the board constitute the policy-making body of the Authority. They do not receive compensation for their services and are accountable in all respects as trustees for the island. The Authority is a self-supporting body, obtaining its operating revenues from leases, park fees, and Island amenities. This income is used to maintain, develop, beautify, and promote the Island as a world-class vacation and meeting destination. Jekyll Island does not receive any tax revenues for its operation.
The Authority employs a full-time executive director who is responsible for the operation and promotion of the Island’s amenities, and for providing certain public services to Island residents and businesses. The Authority is organized into three divisions; each directed by an executive reporting to the CEO. Currently, the Jekyll Island Authority Board is made up of Richard Royal, chairman; Mark Williams, Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Robert Krueger, vice chairman; Michael Hodges, secretary; Sybil Lynn; Laura Lanier; Stephen Croy; Buddy DeLoach; and Dr. Al Ike. For more information about the Jekyll Island Authority, please visit jekyllislandauthority.org.
About Jekyll Ocean Front Hotel, LLC
Jekyll Ocean Front Hotel LLC (“JOFH”) is the leasehold owner of a 4.78 acre ocean front parcel located in the new Beach Village and adjacent to the new convention center on Jekyll Island, GA. JOFH has contracted to build a new 200 room full service Westin hotel on the ocean front site, which is scheduled to open at the end of 2014. JOFH is comprised of Leon N. Weiner & Associates, Inc. (“LNWA”), a Wilmington, DE based nationally recognized homebuilder and multi-family real estate development company, New Castle Hotels & Resorts (“NCHR”), a Shelton, CT based independent hotel owner, operator and manager of distinctive hotel and resort properties, and other individual investors. LNWA and NCH previously teamed up in 2008 to develop a now successful and stabilized Hampton Inn & Suites, also on Jekyll Island. LNWA and other individual investors in JOFH are also owners and operators of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, a four star resort and National Historic Landmark.
About Westin Hotels & Resorts
Westin Hotels & Resorts offers innovative programs that transform every aspect of a stay into a revitalizing experience. All Westin signature services – like the Heavenly Bed, delicious SuperFoods and WestinWORKOUT studio – have been designed with the guests’ well-being in mind. Westin hotels, with more than 190 hotels and resorts in nearly 40 countries and territories, is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,146 properties in nearly 100 countries and 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.
Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element®. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.
About New Castle Hotels & Resorts
Shelton Ct. based New Castle Hotels & Resorts, is an award-winning independent third-party hotel manager, owner and developer with more than 29 hotels and resorts and nearly 5,000 rooms under contract or in development. New Castle’s growing portfolio of hotels spans 10 states and three Canadian provinces and includes several of Canada’s historic landmark resorts. The privately-held company was established by CEO, David Buffam in 1980 and consistently ranks among the top 100 hotel management and development companies in the United States. New Castle is a preferred operator for diverse brands within the Marriott, Hilton and Starwood families. For additional information, please visit www.newcastlehotels.com.