Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.
Unless you have been lost at sea or hiding in an underground bunker, you probably realize that people are moving here. As well as visiting.
Not only did the hotels on Amelia Island register one of the highest occupancy rates in the state last year, more are on the way. A lot more.
Five New Hotels
Five new hotels with 500 rooms are under construction or are planned for Amelia Island. And we already have an impressive collection of hotels – from the glitz of the Ritz to the laid-back comfort of beach motels.
The latest additions will not rival the Ritz or the Omni hotels in quality or price or splendor, but they will fill a niche in strategic locations. It’s all positive news for our local merchants.
Amelia Schoolhouse Inn
Several of the properties have been cleared, and work has begun. The first to be completed is on Atlantic Avenue near downtown, where the old schoolhouse has been retrofitted into a spiffy boutique hotel (pictured first). The fittingly named Amelia Schoolhouse Inn will consist of 17 rooms in a bed-and-breakfast motif.
Courtyard & Springhill Suites
Just down Atlantic Avenue, a hotel will replace an old healthcare facility across from Fort Clinch State Park. It will be the largest of the new projects. In fact, this hotel will offer two brands under one roof.
Both Courtyard by Marriott and SpringHill Suites will share the four-story, 37,000-square-foot hotel building. There will be 239 rooms in all. This will bolster the activities and businesses at Main Beach, like The Sandbar & Kitchen and the newly opened Salt Life Food Shack.
Holiday Inn Express
Along the busy corridor on State Highway A1A, a long-awaited Holiday Inn Express is targeted for the Gateway to Amelia office complex. The trendy office park always had planned a hotel for a wooded lot next to wildly popular Cantina Louie restaurant. The hotel will have 93 rooms.
Sea Cottages & Hilton
And then on Sadler Road, the main east-west corridor of the island, two different hotels are being built. The Sea Cottages of Amelia will offer 12 Mediterranean-style cottages, while the Home2 Suites by Hilton hotel will have 103 rooms.
Not to be outdone, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here will be renovated and rebranded soon. It is part of Marriott’s efforts to improve its stellar hotel chain.
It’s funny, maybe ironic, but many of the people who visit here eventually move here to live. So 500 more hotel rooms will fuel the population growth.
Come to think of it, we had 700,000 overnight visitors this past year, with more on the horizon. Like a blazing morning sun.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor for a regional U.S. firm who lives on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His business columns regularly appear in several newspapers in North Florida and in South Georgia and on his website SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book of his favorite columns from the last 20 years, “All About Money.” The book is available in local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected]