‘Eco-tourism’ site to replace Dormant paper mill facility

September 1, 2022, by Scott J. Bryan, Tribune and Georgian.

Community and business leaders – and Gov.Brian Kemp – broke ground Friday morning on a 722-acre mixed development “eco-tourism destination” in St. Marys that will make use of the long-dormant Gilman Paper Mill site.

The Cumberland Inlet Project, led by Jacoby Development, is slated to include houses and town homes, a marina, a marina village and an “upscale recreational eco-tourism park,” according to a masterplan approved by the city of St. Marys in March.

The marina village, according to those documents, will include a boutique hotel, vacation rentals and permanent residences, commercial and retail buildings and backlots for filming and music.

The recreational park will feature low-impact camping, yurts, cabins and cottages.

St. Marys Mayor John Morrissey noted the city was once known as a “trading port, fishing village and mill town, and now the proud home of the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.”

“Today, we begin a new chapter in that story as wepartner with Jacoby Development to repurpose this former industrial site where men and women made a livelihood for generations,” he said.

Cumberland Inlet is a Brownfield project on the site of the longtime Gilman Paper Mill. The mill closed in September 2002 after Durango, which purchased the property in 1999, entered bankruptcy. Since then, the land has sat vacant with only hopes of future prosperity.

“This project, that started as a vision five years ago for a small boatyard, became a much larger reimagining of all St. Marys could be when Jim Jacoby and JDI came to the table as master developer in 2020,” Camden County Joint Development Authority Executive Director James Coughlin said.

Kemp traveled to St. Marys with his wife and one of his three daughters for the ground-breaking ceremony Friday

“For those who don’t know Jim and Jacoby Development, they are visionaries in many ways,” Kemp said. “I think you have an able partner when it comes to growing jobs, and walking and developing that fine line in protecting the environment and having good stewardship of such a beautiful place in such a beautiful community in such a beautiful part of the state.”

“This project will bring economic opportunity and prosperity, not only to this generation, but to generations in the future.”

Kemp noted the Gilman Paper Mill was once the engine that powered St. Marys. At one point, the mill employed thousands of St. Marys residents.

“We can once again celebrate this site as being a prosperous part of the community,” Kemp said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the Cumberland Inlet continue to take shape and serve the St. Marys community for years to come.”

Jacoby Development is a real-estate development firm based in Atlanta that is best known for the development of Atlantic Station, a derelict, 138-acre steel mill, into an upscale commercial and residential area in the capital city’s West Midtown area.

“Cumberland Inlet will be state of the art, environmentally friendly and have unique features that elevate it,” Jacoby said. “We will be constructing this project in anticipation and preparation of the climate and environmental challenges we shall experience in the future.

“Cumberland Inlet is more than a project and a real estate development. Cumberland Inlet provides a gathering place for ideas, inspiration, collaboration, and most importantly, celebration.”

With the paper mill closed for 20 years, Jacoby declared that “nature has finally healed, both the air and the river.” Now, he hopes to develop a massive project that causes no harm.

“Atlantic Station, when we did it, it was the largest Brownfield in the country,” Jacoby said. “We consider this the most important Brownfield in the country here at Cumberland Inlet.”

Source: Tribune and Georgian