Naples Beach Club in partnership with Hart Howerton architectural firm presented a preliminary design concept for multiple buildings across what will be a Four Seasons resort at the site of the demolished Naples Beach Hotel.
The Athens Group, which owns luxury hotels across the country, purchased the property in 2021 for more than $362 million, but Naples Beach Club still owns 10 acres on the east side of Gulf Shore Boulevard North.
The preliminary design review was originally heard in 2018 for redevelopment of the entire Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club property, including the hotel. Since then, the area underwent a lot of change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, entering an operating agreement with Four Seasons and Hurricane Ian. The changes prompted a need to restart the review process.
“The combined influence of both physical and operational factors resulted in today’s hearing,” Hart Howerton architect Tim McCarthy said.
There are three separate buildings up for review, across Gulf Shore Boulevard from where the new Four Seasons resort will stand. The northernmost building is proposed to be a six-story multifamily mixed-use structure. The center building is planned for a three-story commercial structure with a single-story food and beverage location. The southernmost building will be a two-story clubhouse structure. Underneath the property will be a below-ground garage.
There are a handful of changes to the new site plan compared to what Naples City Council approved in 2019. “We’ve remained consistent with the vision outlined in our public outreach, provision that will protect preserve and enhance the unique components of the property, while incorporating world-leading trends for best-in-class development,” McCarthy said.
Specific changes include eliminating the previously approved family barn in favor of having more open space and landscape. Within that area will be a smaller ice cream pavilion that downsizes and relocates the previously proposed Sugar Shack and treehouse.A 750-foot portion of the proposed clubhouse building will serve as a location for the city to provide backup generator power to the proposed Eighth Avenue North stormwater outfall pumping stations.
Additionally, the previously approved market square and conference center will be broken up into two buildings and connected by covered walkways. “I think that breaking the buildings up must’ve been a big cost but I think it should be appreciated by the neighborhood,” Design Review Board member Mike Faucett said. The overall meeting space inside the resort has been reduced by more than 25% in anticipation of a higher need for family-friendly space.
All buildings either maintained or reduced their ridge height compared to the approved 2019 site plan.
“The net result is a proposal for you today that results in less massing, more usable open space, improved view corridors that open vistas to recreation and open space and then an improved aesthetic experience for guests, residents, neighbors and the Naples community,” McCarthy said.
Overall, the board was pleased with the new concept plan. “What I really like in the change is the increase of open space outdoors and the integration of the buildings in the outdoor open space. It’s just a really nice juxtaposition,” Design Review Board member David Driapsa said. “I can actually see myself walking around there and I just think that’s wonderful.”Design Review Board Chair Stephen Hruby was concerned the view from Gulf Shore Boulevard North could be much nicer, as the proposed renderings show a view of a parking ramp and other behind-the-scenes operations.
“A good portion of your frontage along Gulf Shore is back of the house service. It’s that ramp down to the garage and it’s where all the garbage and deliveries are right next to the entry of the clubhouse,” he said. “Not the most attractive. I think you really need to think about how you conceal that.”
The board unanimously approved the preliminary hearing of the Naples Beach Club mixed-use project. Next, developers will make any requested amendments and bring the proposed project to the city’s Planning Advisory Board.