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Q: Do you have info on the clearing in progress across from Kalea Bay, corner of Vanderbilt Drive and Wiggins? Thanks. — Ann Quinn, Naples  

A: The development of Kinsale Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course, began March 1 on more than 170 acres of undeveloped land on the northeast corner of Vanderbilt Drive and Wiggins Pass Road in North Naples.  

Kinsale Golf Club’s design by renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse and partner Jim Wagner of Hanse Golf Course Design in Malvern, Pennsylvania, depicts a 6,555-yard, par-71 course. Half of the 18 holes are par 4 with five par-3 and four par-5 holes. The conceptual plans, though, are still subject to change.  

The golf club is an independent, stand-alone course without a residential component affiliated with it although it shares the same property owner and developer as the Kalea Bay five-tower Gulfshore condominium development under construction across the street. All are part of the Cocohatchee Bay planned unit development approved years ago on acreage on both sides of Vanderbilt Drive that Detroit-based Lodge/Abbott Associates LLC purchased in October 2001 for $30 million. The project is being developed by Soave Real Estate, a subsidiary of Detroit-based Soave Enterprises. “This project has been in the works for over 20 years at this point and for a long time a stand-alone golf club was not economically viable. With COVID and the rise in popularity of outdoor recreation, that has since shifted,” said Hannah Roberts, a development associate with The Soave Real Estate Group in Naples. “As you can see from county records, we tried to do a number of things on that site. We were approved to build the golf course and, thankfully, now there’s an opportunity to do that and to do that well.”  

Soave is still working to amend the site development plan for proposed modifications to the golf course layout and its accompanying amenities, Roberts said. The architectural design for its proposed clubhouse is inspired by the Dutch West Indies style.  

“It’s a little different than anything we’ve done at Kalea Bay or anything we’ve done elsewhere in Naples to date, but the course is really designed to embrace Old Florida, local Florida, to just kind of to blend with its surroundings and look like it’s been there forever,” she said.  

The main entrance to the golf club will be off Wiggins Pass Road at the southeast corner of the property, where the clubhouse and parking are planned. A limerock construction access road also extends off U.S. 41 North. This temporary access will be a future maintenance road, plans show.  

More than 15 acres of the golf course property will encompass lakes while about 5 acres will be used for a boardwalk and cart paths. Nearly 40 acres will be retained as a preserve along the property’s northern edge, extending into the center of the course, and on its southeast corner, site plans show.  

“The goal of the course is to leave as much mature vegetation intact as possible. That is the architect’s vision for it,” Roberts said.  The golf course construction schedule shows a completion date near the end of 2024 for the project. The private golf club already has begun accepting memberships through a reservation process, Roberts said.   

“I am overwhelmed with the amount of interest that there is for a golf course in Naples in this location,” she said. “The demand is incredible right now.”  

The exclusive club plans to allow no more than 250 active, dues-paying members for a golf season anticipated to extend from early October to early June. The plan is to close the club during the summer to perform annual maintenance and course upkeep.   

“From the beginning, the goal of Kinsale is to be a golf course for avid golfers,” Robert said. “The amenities are very pared back. It’s not a country club. There’s no swimming pool or dinner service or anything like that planned at this time. It’s really just a golf-centric environment for golfers who love to golf and it happens to be in a great location. The demand for that and being able to control course access and give people a reasonable expectation to get on the course in season is something people have been very excited about.”  

White Elephant  

Q: I really, really miss the NCH White Elephant store that was on Pine Ridge just west of Naples Boulevard. They said they were going to reopen elsewhere but I have not heard anything for quite a while now. Know anything? — Judy Caldwell, Naples  

A: When the NCH White Elephant Thrift Store closed nearly two years ago, NCH Healthcare System had every intention of reopening the store elsewhere in the Naples area, but there are no plans now to reopen the thrift store, said Maria Racine, retail manager for NCH.  

NCH actively looked in the Naples area for a new location for the thrift store but a suitable location could not be found, said Jack Ullrich, director of facilities development for NCH.  

“We have not reopened nor are we going to,” Ullrich said. “We were looking for a while and there just wasn’t anything out there and the costs were prohibitive and they’re even worse now. We have no intention of reopening at this point.”  

For years, NCH White Elephant previously operated a few days a week in space adjacent to the NCH central campus and support center at 2157 Pine Ridge Road before those business offices relocated in early 2021 to the former Naples Daily News headquarters after the local health care system purchased the newspaper office building. NCH White Elephant couldn’t relocate there, though, because that zoning district didn’t permit that type of use. Although retail vacancies abound in the area, selling gently used furniture, clothing and household goods is not a permitted use at many locations.   

Without a new home, NCH’s White Elephant, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, could not accept drop-off or pickup donations. Proceeds generated by the White Elephant resale store, operated by volunteers, were used to purchase hospital equipment to enhance the services provided by NCH.  

The “Tim Aten Knows” weekly column answers local questions from readers. Email Tim at 

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