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Jekyll breaking ground on overdue convention hotel

In May 2012, Gov. Deal joined other officials cutting the ribbon on Jekyll Island's new convention center.
In May 2012, Gov. Deal joined other officials cutting the ribbon on Jekyll Island's new convention center.

JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. – Developers are set to start construction on a new convention hotel for Jekyll Island after long delays that largely resulted from difficulties getting a bank loan for the $41 million project.

Members of the state park's governing board were scheduled attend a ground-breaking ceremony Monday for the 200-room Westin hotel. It's a key piece of the Jekyll Island Authority's plans to turn around years of sagging tourism and convention business. A new convention center that opened a year ago and other improvements cost Georgia taxpayers $50 million.

Meeting planners have complained about the delays in building the convention hotels. Jekyll Island officials last fall agreed to put up about $6 million to help the private hotel developer qualify for financing.

The Westin is scheduled to open by September 2014.