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Facilities Update
Jekyll Island Authority Selects SMG For Convention Center Management

Fourth Consecutive Win for Nation’s Largest Venue Management Firm

At its regular Board Meeting last week, the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) reviewed a variety of items including recommendations for Jekyll Island’s new Convention Center Management Team. With construction on the Convention Center approximately 50% complete, the Jekyll Island Authority Convention Center executive staff completed a diligent request for proposals process, culminating with presentations from three management firms vying for the new Jekyll Island management contract. In accordance with JIA executive staff recommendations, the Board approved SMG to manage Jekyll Island’s new 128,000-sq. ft. convention center with an expected contract commencement date in early September.

“We can’t wait for the new Convention Center to open,” stated JIA Board Chairman Bob Krueger. “This particular revitalization project will foster such a beneficial impact to not only Jekyll Island, but essentially the entire Georgia Coast. With SMG’s regional and national presence, we are confident in a professional opening next year.” Starting with a request for qualifications in Fall 2010, the Authority narrowed down to three proposers to respond to the request for proposals that followed. Among other criteria, SMG was selected for its success in opening, managing and marketing dozens of other comparable facilities.

“We appreciate the extensive research conducted by the JIA,” said Wes Westley, president and CEO of SMG. “It is further validation of our ability to equally serve new and existing convention facilities, regardless of their size or destination,” he added. “This is a highly desirable venue and destination that will complement our strong southeast network of first-class facilities’’ added Gregg Caren, senior vice president of Strategic Business Development for SMG. “We already see booking and operational synergies with our Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, further north on Georgia’s pristine coastline,” Caren noted.

In addition to management and marketing responsibilities, SMG’s culinary services division, SAVOR, will provide food and beverage services that highlight regional cuisine and fresh product availability. This same week, SAVOR was selected to oversee food and beverage services at Chicago’s McCormick Place, where SMG was awarded management responsibility earlier this year after an exhaustive search by the Metropolitan Pier and Exhibition Authority, the agency that owns the facility. This award marks the fourth consecutive win for SMG in the past year, having been selected to manage McCormick Place, Cobo Center and the Montego Bay Convention Centre in recent bids.

About Jekyll Island
Located on Georgia’s coast, Jekyll Island with its rich history and quiet, laid-back atmosphere has attracted vacationers for more than one hundred years. Jekyll Island offers a variety of amenities, including 10 miles of beach, a 250-acre Historic Landmark District, four golf courses, a large water park, 20 miles of bike paths, a tennis center, and an array of lodging options including hotels, cottages and campgrounds. Owned by the state of Georgia and managed by Jekyll Island Authority, the island’s development is limited to just 35 percent of the available land area to preserve the critical barrier island ecosystem. Great lengths have been taken to honor this ratio as the highly anticipated revitalization of Jekyll Island moves forward. By Summer 2012 the island will be home to an all-new beachfront convention center with more than 78,000 sq. ft. of function space, a beautifully redesigned entry corridor to the island. The construction of a Beach Village shopping and dining area which will include two new hotels will follow suite.  For more information, visit