ST. MARYS, Ga. – The Jacoby Development broke ground Friday morning on the Cumberland Inlet project located in St. Marys, Georgia. The Cumberland Inlet will be a mixed-use development to boost tourism in Camden County.
The Cumberland Inlet tourism spot will include a 160-slip marina, a town center with retail and hotels, an eco-tourism focus with vacation rentals, among other things. James Coughlin is the executive director of the Camden County Joint Development Authority.
“We’re talking boutique retail, small retail that you would associate with resort communities, that kind of thing, no big boxes or anything like that,” Coughlin said. “And a lot of focus on traffic management, really encouraging people to park get in golf carts, walk around walk bike, that that kind of thing.”
The Cumberland Inlet will be developed on the site of the former Gilman paper mill, which was a major economic player in Southeast Georgia for generations.
“It’s sat dormant for 20 years,” Coughlin said. “It literally went bankrupt in 2002 and over 1,000 people lost their jobs in town. A lot of associated businesses went out of business in the region.”
Coughlin said the developers, the city and county are taking environmental preservation into account.
“Not only preserved but cleaned,” Coughlin said. “It’s been thoroughly tested and the groundwater has been tested. But there are some things that need to be cleaned up on this site, and that’s his (the developer’s) priority.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was expected to be in St. Marys for the groundbreaking. The county said construction is expected to start early next year, and the project will be completed in phases.