There have been many attempts to redevelop an abandoned industrial site in downtown St. Marys since it shut down in 2002. All have failed.
In the latest effort to develop the Durango-Georgia Paper Co. site, a bond was approved by the Camden County Commission earlier this week for a project named Cumberland Inlet. The developer’s plans include the marina, a four-story boutique hotel, multi-family residential units, RV park and conservation areas.
Unlike previous entrepreneurs who attempted to develop the 700-acre site, the new developer, Jacoby Development Inc., has a track record of taking abandoned industrial sites and transforming them into residential and mixed-use communities, said James Coughlin, director of the Camden County Joint Development Authority.
The site has already been designated a tax allocation district and has an approved permit to build a marina.
The commission’s approval of the bond enables the JDA to loan Jacoby Development more than $7 million to pay a portion of the purchase price for the master project, the marina project site and the authority’s pre-development costs.
“We can move forward on closing on the property and completing the pre-development phase,” Coughlin said.
While he is aware of the many failed attempts to develop the property, Coughlin said the developer’s past experience gives him a “high level” of confidence in the project. The development, when completed, is a $330 million project that Coughlin said will have a positive impact for the downtown St. Marys area.
“It’s huge,” he said. “For a project like this, we see it as an investment. Once word gets out, you’ll see an increased interest in St. Marys.”