Sea Island, Georgia
Sea Island is an unincorporated area of Glynn County, Georgia, and is part of the Golden Isles of Georgia, including Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, and Little St. Simons Island. The seaside island is located along the Atlantic Coast near Historic Brunswick, and is a well-visited resort island. Sea Island Acquisitions, LLC owns the island, operating two resorts, limiting most public access. The island sits about 60 miles north of Jacksonville, FL and about sixty miles south of Savannah, GA. The surrounding marshland, through which visitors are able to drive, was immortalized in 'The Marshes of Glynn' by Sidney Lanier in 1878.
Sea Island houses two well-visited resorts, the "Sea Island Beach Club" and "The Cloister", each operated by Sea Island Acquisitions. Both are located across the street from one another, connected by a roundabout in the middle of Sea Island Dr., Sea Island's main connecting road. The Beach Club lies by the ocean-side, providing visitors who sit on the beach with accommodations and access to pool areas. The resort contains restaurants, a game room, an ice cream shop, a bar, and two pools. The Cloister (commonly referred to plurally as either "Cloisters" or "the Cloisters") sits south-west on the island along the Black Banks River and functions as the main hotel of the resort island, containing restaurants, several hotel rooms, a spa, tennis and squash courts, an exercise facility, and a pool. Sea Island Acquisitions also owns property on St. Simon's Island, including a shooting school, and two other golf courses.
Throughout the first three decades of the 20th century, Sea Island had been drawing developers and other investors:
- 1911 — Howard E. Coffin (vice president of the Hudson Motor Company) purchased 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land on nearby Sapelo Island, and began developing it as a private retreat.
- 1926 — Coffin purchased Long Island, renaming it Sea Island.
- 1927 — "The Plantation" golf course was built.
- 1928 — Coffin began an overnight inn and lodge, named "The Cloister."
Sea Island is owned by Sea Island Acquisitions, LLC, which also owns property on St. Simons Island. On St. Simons Island, the company operates "The Plantation" golf course, as well as a golf house and restaurant to complement known as "The Lodge." Prior to its bankruptcy the company was managed by Bill Jones III. In an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine, he discussed the expansion of Sea Island and was quoted, saying, "The banks almost pay you to borrow money today."
- 2003 — The Sea Island Company closed the The Cloister's original building. After 75 years of service, the building was replaced with a new one.
- 2004 — Sea Island hosted the G8 Summit.
- 2006 — The new main building opened along the Black Banks River on the west side of Sea Island. In addition, the spa, tennis center, stables, and docks were opened.
- 2007 — A new Beach Club was opened.
- 2008 — Sea Island Company announced layoffs affecting approximately 500 employees, or 25% of its workforce.
- 2009 — Sea Island Company, The Cloister, The Lodge at Sea Island, the Georgian room at The Cloister, and The Cloister Spa each received a Five-Star award from the Mobil Travel Guide,
- April 2009 — Synovus announced that the Sea Island Company had defaulted on its loans and that the banks would work to restructure the loan package.
- July 2009 — Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP filed a US District Court class action lawsuit against Synovus Financial Corp. on behalf of an institutional investor, alleging that the defendants had harmed Synovus investors by failing to disclose its exposure to the Sea Island Company and "the deteriorating condition of Sea Island".
- July 2009 — Sea Island announced that Synovus and Bank of America had restructured a $400,000,000 loan package.
- October 2009 — The Sea Island Company placed large tracts of undeveloped land on the market in order to raise funds to pay down debt.
- November 2009 — Wells Fargo took over the deed to Sea Island's Frederica property to settle a loan estimated to be $140mm to $150mm. Wells Fargo also took ownership of other pieces of vacant land including Cannon's Point.
- January 2010 — Sea Island defaulted on the restructured loan package, the island's second default in less than 12 months.
- February 2010 — Sea Island announced that Goldman Sachs has been hired to assess strategic options including a possible sale of the company.
- August 2010 — Sea Island Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and sold its assets to Oaktree Capital Management and Avenue Capital Group.
- October 2010 — Sea Island acquired for $212.4 million by four firms 'Oaktree Capital Management LP','Avenue Capital Group','Anschutz Corp' and 'Starwood Capital Group Global'.
In June 2004 (June 8–10), the Sea Island Company hosted a summit of the Group of Eight leaders at Sea Island. Continuing the pattern with other previous venues of the G8 meeting, the island is remote, easily secured, and has luxurious accommodations. As part of the security measures, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated the summit a National Special Security Event (NSSE). DHS also began to deal with another NSSE: the state funeral of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
The venue was specifically chosen to control access to the conference. The geographic isolation was enhanced by positioning the International Media Center for the Sea Island summit in Savannah, 80 miles away on the Georgia mainland. Protestors and demonstrations were effectively marginalized, in part because the conference venue was located in a nearly inaccessible place. The island's security cordon was enhanced when the Governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency in six counties, beginning on May 25, 2004 to deal with the potential danger of violence or damage by demonstrators during the Group of 8 economic summit.
- Porter, Darwin. Frommer's The Carolinas & Georgia, p. 476.
- Hurt, Harry, III (Sept/Oct 2003). "Profile: The Scion of Sea Island". Cigar Aficionado. Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Robbie Brown, "An Unwelcome Guest Intrudes on a Worry-Free Zone for the Rich," New York Times, 30 Sept 2008
- "Sea Island Co. restructures loan with Synovus - Atlanta Business Chronicle". Atlanta.bizjournals.com. 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Debt-ridden Sea Island selling land - Atlanta Business Chronicle". Atlanta.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Waldman, Peter (2009-11-24). "Wells Fargo Takes Over Deed to Sea Island’s Frederica Community". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- http://www.allbusiness.com/banking-finance/banking-lending-credit-services/13820354-1.html[dead link]
- "Sea Island Co. to file Chapter 11, sell properties". www.ajc.com. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- Mollenkamp, Carrick (October 11, 2010). "Sea Island Resort Acquired for $212.4 Million". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Sanger, David and Richard Stevenson. "Gathering on Sea Island: the Scene; World Leaders Get a Glimpse of America's High Life," New York Times. June 10, 2004.
- Hart, Ariel. "Gathering on Sea Island: the Protests; At Summit, Police and Delegations Outnumber the Demonstrators," June 10, 2004; Hart, Ariel. "National Briefing | South: Georgia: Group Of 8 Security," New York Times. May 25, 2004.
- Porter, Darwin and Danforth Prince. (2007). Frommer's The Carolinas & Georgia. Hobokin, New Jersey: Frommers. 10-ISBN 0-470-10050-8; 13-ISBN 978-0-470-10050-9; OCLC 126837314
- Sea Island Resorts
- Sea Island Residential Properties
- Sea Island Real Estate Map
- Article about road privatization