Jacoby Development to Reclaim South Georgia Brownfield Site

Staff Report

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

Jacoby Development, Inc, (JDI) an Atlanta-based real estate developer, announced today they have closed on an exciting waterfront brownfield parcel located in St. Marys, GA in Camden County. JDI has formulated an initial masterplan which it continues to refine in concept calls for a mixed-used destination community anchored by a marina, eco-tourism park, town center with boutique hotel, townhomes, vacation rentals, apartments and condominiums.  JDI is continuing to entertain development and financing partners to round out its team of “Best-in-Class” team of partners.  JDI has been studying the site  over the past two (2) decades for redevelopment and believes the activation of the paper mill site will be a giant step for the Historic City of St Marys and the Camden County Joint Development Authority.

“The redevelopment of this property will create new economic and recreational opportunities for the people of St. Mary’s and Camden County for years to come,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “In an area famed for its natural beauty and coastal community, this project will ensure a prosperous future sure to appeal to both residents and tourists alike. Partnerships like the one behind this development are part of the reason Georgia is the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The Durango Georgia Paper Mill (formerly known as Gillman Paper) on the St Marys River, had over 900 employees before filing for bankruptcy in 2002. The approximate 1298-acre site was acquired by another developer subsequently falling into the hands of the trustee before JDI placed the property under contract in 2019.  JDI worked strategically over the past couple of years with stakeholders to craft the proper structure and programming to position the development.  The Joint Development Authority led by its Board and Executive Director James Coughlin, the City of St. Marys led by Mayor John Morrissey and the Trustee, led by Mike Newsom all worked on a cohesive plan to relaunch the site.  This property is perfect example of a successful Public/Private Partnership (P3).  JDI’s involvement in St. Marys dates to 1992 when it co-developed the first Publix approved in Georgia.

JDI is best known for reclaiming the Atlantic Steel property, a 138-acre site in downtown Atlanta, GA. JDI partnered with AIG Insurance to create an EPA sponsored Project XL which became Atlantic Station.  The seven (7) million square foot mixed-use development was the first LEED certified campus and consists of 3,000 residential units, 2.5 million square feet of Class-A office and 1.5 million square feet of retail & entertainment.  At the time of the acquisition in 1999 the Atlantic Steel reclamation was the largest brownfield redevelopment in the United States.  JDI also converted the Ford Motor plant to what is now the Porsche North American Headquarters and performance track. Throughout its history, Jacoby Development has pursued challenging opportunities for mixed-use developments in unique natural environments emphasize community, livability and environmental stewardship.

To complete the purchase, Jacoby Development partnered with SG Blocks, Inc, (NASDAQ: SGBX) a New York-based, leading designer, innovator and fabricator of modular structures through its development subsidiary SGB Development Corp.  The modular environmental company has a national footprint and is involved in eco-responsible projects in commercial, residential and military markets. SG Blocks has partnered with Jacoby Development to turn the area into a livable community as well as a tourist destination. Paul Galvin, Chairman and CEO noted, “We are delighted to be involved in such an important environmentally sensitive project in a beautiful area of the Georgia coast. We look forward to partnering with Jacoby Development to create an eco-friendly destination that enhances the natural beauty of the area.” 

Jim Jacoby, Chairman of JDI announced completion of the acquisition last month and stated, “We are humbled to continue our legacy of taking on environmentally challenging properties and turning them into eco-friendly and environmentally inviting places for the community, homeowners and tourists.”  Cumberland Inlet will be the “Base-Camp” for Eco-Tourism providing convenient access to the entire region of natural amenities.