Theater club

Design Review Board approves plans for new hotel at Naples Beach Club

Hotel Replacement Plans history Naples Beach Hotel have been granted final design approval last week by a vote of 3 to 2 the city’s design review committee.

After months of legal challenges, the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club was sold on October 14 for more than $362 million. Athens Group and MSD Partners have acquired the nearly 125-acre Gulffront property in Naples for the redevelopment of Naples Beach Club with a 216-room hotel and resort managed by Four Seasons, up to 185 luxury residences and top-of-the-line club equipment. After being owned and operated for nearly 75 years by three generations of the Watkins family, the Beach Club closed permanently last May, but its sale has been delayed by legal challenges filed by Greg Myers, a neighbor on Gulf Shore Boulevard North, who opposes the redevelopment.

During the public comment period towards the end of last week Design Review Board meeting, Myers threatened to sue the DRB members if they approved of the proposed plans because he said only City Council, not the DRB, is authorized to make changes to the November 2019 resolution regarding site plan deviations for development. Myers considered the the whole outrageous process. “I am of the opinion that no part of this 124-acre project is legal,” he said.. Subsequently, the members of the DRB David Driapsa and Adriane Orion both voted no on the hotel’s design plans.

The hotel project was originally approved in 2018 by the DRB, which later rescinded its approval after inconsistencies found with site plan deviations became a zoning issue. Since then, a children’s pool that encroached on a front yard setback has been removed, the hotel’s wing near the shore has been shrunk, and changes have been made to the transition between two outdoor pools. Other improvements have been made to the parking spaces outside the Hotel.

As part of the preliminary design review of the project in 2018, the DRB included 10 conditions for approval, said Leslee Dulmer, Deputy Director of Town Planning. “Following this, the project went through a clearance process, an extensive clearance process, and then returned for final design approval in June 2021 for ownership of the property. ‘Hotel and Property in Market Square’, Dulmer noted. “As a result of this design review approval, certain inconsistencies with the design and rights, in particular the site plan with deviation approvals granted by the City Council, were identified, and in October, this board rescinded and revoked these approvals for the hotel and for the Market Square properties. ”

Since last summer, the petitioners have completed the review of their site plan proposal. In March, city staff found these changes sufficient, Dulmer noted.

In addition to a new hotel, the developer plans to build luxury towers along both sides of Gulf Shore Boulevard as well as the Marlet Square public amenity space on the east side of the boulevard. The recent DRB petition submitted and approved related only to the hotel and did not include the property’s golf course, the market place, the proposed beachfront condominiums north of the hotel, the property at the east of Gulf Shore Boulevard or the proposed renovations to HB on the Gulf restaurant.

Staff recommended two conditions of approval regarding landscaping and signage. Renovations of HB and the adjacent Sunset Beach Bar & Grill will be considered in a separate request at a later date, Dulmer noted.

The construction schedule for the hotel has not yet been disclosed. Some landscaping has already been cleared on the property and work is actively underway to obtain demolition permits for the old hotel, noted Leslie Neville, associate director of the New York-based architectural firm Hart Howerton, who presented the architectural plans to the Volunteer appointed by the municipal council edge on March 30. His presentation at the DRB provided a to elaborate project visit 46,832 square feet Naples Beach Club Four Seasons hotel to be built on the resort site at the southwest corner of Gulf Shore Boulevard North and Eighth Avenue North. the ssame story The hotel, which will feature an iconic dome, will shrink to five floors closest to the gulf.

“Our architectural approach to a building of this scale in this neighborhood is to break it down into traditional proportions and composition,” Neville said. “So everywhere you’ll see an articulated base that’s different from a middle part of the building that’s different from the highest part of the building, where we vary the materials to break down the scale.”

Since the DRB gave preliminary approval to the plans in 2018, a private rooftop garden has been envisioned next to the Presidential Suite on the fifth level of the hotel’s South Wing. Water quality issues at the site were also addressed with a sustainable approach, Neville said. “We have worked extensively and holistically on smart water strategies, including the use of tertiary treated effluent for the beach side golf course irrigation, exfiltration and percolation systems to that we can filter lots of water and to fill the aquifer,” Neville said.

Green walls will be incorporated into some of the architecture in different areas and an innovative parking stacking system will be used in the valet garage below the public and guest room levels of the hotel. “The proposed buildings are consistent in quality and appearance and compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods,” Neville said. “The scale, color and proportion of the project are appropriate and harmonious with surrounding buildings. »

Walking through the lobby on Gulf Shore Boulevard North, guests will arrive at the Veranda, a new indoor dining space with a large outdoor courtyard. The veranda, which Neville described as a jewel case in the makeup of the hotel rooms above, will have “playful details” such as elongated columns and striped fabric awnings.

A few steps from the Veranda courtyard will be the rectangular main pool. A few steps closer to the beach will be a organically shaped family pool at the southwest corner of the property. Between the family pool and the hotel will be a line of outdoor cabanas designed “to serve not only as a room to escape the scorching sun and provide shade for families enjoying this family pool, but also to serve as an element of design. this masks the presence of parking under this first level of hotel accommodation,” Neville said.

Just north of the main pool, Watkins Lawn will be preserved between a new ballroom and a renovated HB restaurant near the beach. Along the north of the hotel property will be what is called the Coconut Connector, a pedestrian walkway that will cross Gulf Shore Boulevard. On the north side of this paseo will be a series of connected public spaces that will include another new dining venue and two retail spaces.

“All of these elements vary in detail and create a composition that is deliberately different from the design choices and we drew inspiration from traditions like Worth Avenue. [an upscale shopping and dining destination in Palm Beach] and other great locations for architecture and selected planting were incorporated to inspire this composition we created,” Neville noted. “It’s one of the few places where the outdoor experience is defined quite narrowly on both sides by the architecture.”

The gateway will link to an update Beach bar at sunset and the the hotel’s new beachfront ballroom. Since last June’s presentation, the architects have been fine-tuning the details of the ballroom entrance. “Basically the design intent here is a theatrical approach,” she said. “It’s whimsical to continue this collection of varied detailing along the coconut connector, but the intention is for it to look like the parting of a curtain, deliberately different as part of the pedestrian experience.”

The idea is to break down the architecture of the ballroom exterior entrance with contrasting details and elevations, as will be done in the same way with the various elements of the Veranda restaurant, the porch on the arrival side of the hotel and the family cabanas by the pool. “So it’s a playful, friendly abstract expression of a theater and the idea of ​​being on stage with the curtains parted, seeing and being seen,” Neville said.

Francis Fee, a neighbor reside in Old Naples, said he wanted the hotel’s redevelopment to blend harmoniously into the neighborhood. “Someone commented that this building has to fit in with the surrounding neighborhood for a long time. So it has to be architecturally correct and architecturally in harmony with this piecesaid Fee during the reunion. “This neighborhood has also been there for a very long time. We have lived in our house for 31 years and hope to stay there for a long time. So we have an interest this side integrate into the neighborhood and ask for it to be a main criteria that you use to approve the request. »

The goal is to find that delicate balance, said DRB Chairman Stephen Hruby. “I’ve always said change is inevitable and we have to be able to manage change, but manage change in a way that doesn’t destroy the character of what we have here now,” Hruby noted. “So it’s a delicate balance between maintaining character and adapting to changing market conditions and trends. It’s something that’s very close to our hearts, balancing managing change with maintaining the quality of our city.