Q: Any info on The 239 project going up off Bayshore Drive in Naples? Thanks! — Don Roberts, Naples
A: The 239, a mixed-use development on the southeast corner of Bayshore Drive and Areca Avenue in East Naples, will have eight hotel rooms, a sit-down restaurant, a rooftop bar, a couple of retail units and a pool for hotel guests.
While it’s referred to as The 239 Hotel in its initial county permit application, it’s not what one would necessarily consider a typical hotel. Think short-term accommodations that are more synonymous with Airbnb, for example.
“It’s not a condo. It is a residential dwelling, but they’re under one ownership,” said longtime Naples resident Michael Whalen. “It’s short-term stay. Let’s call it that. It’s zoned in the hotel zoning and it’s short-term stays.”
The second and third floors will have four lodging units each. A restaurant on the first floor will service the rooftop dining and a couple of retail spaces also will be available on the ground floor, Whalen said.
“My partner Adam Holman and I are the owners and developers and New Era Construction, which I own, is the builder,” Whalen said. “The majority of the ideas for developing this were from Adam and it’s a lot of his vision. We are golfing buddies and decided to build a hotel on Areca and Bayshore Drive a couple of years ago.”
Mike Johnson of Naples-based AMJ Architect designed the plans for the three-story building. Its 12,203 square feet will occupy nearly half an acre at 3467 Bayshore Drive, but its only vehicular access point will be off Areca Avenue on the eastern edge of Bayshore slightly more than half a mile south of U.S. 41.
The new development in the Bayshore Arts District has been a few years in the making within the Bayshore/Gateway Triangle Redevelopment Area.
“It’s taken us a while to get through site permitting. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be in submitting our building permit,” Whalen said. “We’re going to be starting in probably two to three weeks with site work.”
That initial work will include underground utilities and a parking lot.
“We look to be open for business in the late summer of next year after about a year of construction or so,” he said.
Whalen hopes to land a local restaurant for the project, but he doesn’t have a signed lease yet.
“My partner and I are both locals,” Whalen said. “I’ve personally been here 50 years and live at the same address in Brookside, and we’d like to keep it local, everything local.”
Retail options on the first floor also are still open. “My partner would like to put the first distillery in Bayshore. Not a beer distillery; a whiskey distillery,” Whalen said. “That’s the first and foremost, and the restaurant and the other retail are open for grabs right now.”
Whalen hopes news coverage about the project generates some telephone calls. He said he already received about 15 calls within a few hours after he posted the “coming soon” sign on Saturday.
Whalen said they are following the lead of local entrepreneur Rebecca Maddox, the owner of Three60 Market and Celebration Park on Bayshore Drive who recently opened Rebecca’s wine bar with plans to launch The Maddox private social club in October on Bayshore.
“There’s a lot of popularity in the Bayshore Drive area, the redevelopment area, and we hope to be a part of it for a long time,” Whalen said.
The Grove Bayshore
A few blocks south of The 239 project, Whalen’s bigger project is the development of a long, narrow parcel on the eastern side of Bayshore near Van Buren Avenue.
“I do have a 10-acre project that’s coming on board here this year also that people will be talking about after I put a sign up there in the next week or two,” Whalen said. “It’s called The Grove Bayshore and there’s 32 single-family homes platted for that area.”
Three floor plans for the single-story homes show two floor plans with four bedrooms and four bathrooms and one floor plan with three bedrooms and three baths. “And they come with a pool,” Whalen said.
In addition to 32 detached home lots in a gated community, the proposed project includes a designated 0.86-acre commercial outparcel that will be developed in the future fronting Bayshore Drive in front of The Grove.
A traffic impact statement prepared by Boral Engineering of Estero concludes that after the development is completed the local road network will continue to operate at acceptable levels of service for 2023 conditions. “The project will not create a significant impact to the surrounding roadway network based on its 1.1% percent impact to Bayshore Drive. Additionally, it was verified that all roadways, within the project’s area of impact, currently have a surplus of capacity and can accommodate the traffic associated with the development,” Boral reports.
The Grove’s location will become more noticeable soon. “We’ve got a ‘coming soon’ sign coming in the next couple of weeks,” Whalen said. “We should be breaking ground in 60 to 90 days.”
Don’t expect to see folks moving in until 2025, though. “We’ll definitely have some product to sell in the fourth quarter, third and fourth quarter of ‘24, but we probably won’t be done with the project until the end of ‘25.”
Whalen said these new developments are first-class products that will play a role in the transformation of Bayshore. “Again, following Rebecca’s lead,” he said.
Whalen also is planning some projects in Brookside, a nearby unincorporated area north of Davis Boulevard that is prime for redevelopment. “That’s a transforming area, too. I’ve got four or five projects there that we’re doing also that is close by,” he said. “It’s finally its time. The progress has made it across the bridge, if you will, a little farther. Bayshore’s a big part of it.”
The “Tim Aten Knows” weekly column answers local questions from readers. Email Tim at email@example.com.