Q: I haven’t seen anything anywhere yet about what is being built on the huge empty lot next to the Marriott Residence Inn on 41 in Naples. It’s been an empty, open field for the past 10 years I’ve been coming here. Now it’s fenced-in and a construction site. Love to know what’s being built. — Michele Boley, Naples
A: Construction began earlier this year on a new Rooms To Go showroom that will significantly expand the company’s footprint in Naples when it is completed near the end of this year.
The Florida-based company nearly doubled its retail space in Naples in 2006. Less than 20 years later, it’s nearly doubling its showroom space again.
“There’s been quite a lot of growth and movement. We love Florida. It’s kind of our bread and butter. It’s where we started and grew up before we expanded elsewhere,” said Will Martin, director of real estate for Rooms To Go. “We’re very excited. The store is beautiful.”
The new store under construction at 4067 Ninth St. N. will consolidate Rooms To Go’s two Naples furniture stores under one roof in the city’s Park Shore area. The existing Rooms To Go and Rooms To Go Patio stores, both on U.S. 41 in the city, will relocate to the new showroom about a half-mile north of its main store in Naples but on the western side of U.S. 41. The new location is being built on 3.86 acres of vacant commercial property between the Inn of Naples and Marriott’s Residence Inn.
This isn’t the first time that Rooms To Go has expanded and moved in Naples. Before opening its existing store at 3520 U.S. 41 N., Rooms To Go operated at 3770 U.S. 41 N., now home to La-Z-Boy. In late 2006, Rooms To Go nearly doubled its space by moving that Naples store at U.S. 41 and Frank Whiteman Boulevard about two blocks down the road to the former site of Hodges Funeral Chapel on the corner of U.S. 41 and Ohio Drive.
Expanding from nearly 16,000 square feet to 28,000 square feet in 2006, Rooms To Go’s future store in Naples will total 48,641 square feet. The main Rooms To Go store will be nearly 37,000 square feet while its adjoining store for outdoor furniture on its southern end will be more than 10,000 square feet, according to architectural plans filed with the city.
Founded in 1990 and headquartered near Tampa, Rooms To Go is one of the largest furniture retailers in the country. The company purchased the Carls Patio chain in 2018 to create RTG Patio.
Not snappy yet
Q: Do you know what’s going on with the cleared property where Joey D’s and Krantz gas station once was on the corner of Davis and Airport? Looks like the car wash project has gone belly up! What an eyesore now. Thanks for any info. — Katy McCauley, Naples
A: Plans for a new Snappy Car Wash on the southeastern corner of Davis Boulevard and Airport-Pulling Road are still alive. The East Naples corner is just between the demolition and building stages.
“We’re just going through all the speed bumps that government is putting us through down there,” said Roger Keaton, who operates many car washes in Chicago and Fort Myers.
In dispute is traffic flow on that busy corner. When Joey D’s Italian Restaurant & Bar operated there for seven years, patrons could both enter and exit off drives on Davis Boulevard and Airport-Pulling Road. But the demolition of the previous business provided government entities an opportunity to reset that traffic pattern, restricting future business to entering only off Davis Boulevard and exiting only onto Airport Road.
Pre-application meeting notes from Collier County Growth Management show that the property’s connection to county-maintained Airport Road will be a right-out-only drive. “(The) existing access point will be limited to a right-out only and pushed all the way to the south property line (to) achieve as much of the 180-foot offset corner distance as possible,” according to the report.
The property’s connection to state-maintained Davis Boulevard will be limited to a right-in-only drive, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
The owner of the proposed car wash wants the previous opportunities for entering and exiting the site to be continued as they existed for Joey D’s.
“That’s what we’re submitting. Who knows? We’ve submitted the site plan twice now,” Keaton said. “The site plan is finished. I’m waiting on the site approval.”
Beyond the ingress and egress, the site plan hasn’t changed. The architectural and building plans are the same, he said. The commercial parcel will be converted into a 4,400-square-foot tunnel car wash with outdoor vacuum stations.
Even if everything goes as planned, don’t expect Snappy Car Wash to open on that corner until the fall of 2024.
“If we submit (for the building permit) within the next couple of weeks and they agree with our layout, it will probably take eight or nine months to build,” Keaton said. “I’m hoping we’re in the ground by the end of the year, so we’re talking next fall.”
Although passersby have complained about what appears to be a blighted corner after the recent demolition, Keaton is confident that his car wash project will be an improvement. “It will be an enhancement to that corner,” he said.
Keaton’s RKDavis Real Estate Holdings LLC purchased the 0.85-acre lot and its 5,076-square-foot commercial building at 3300 Davis Blvd. in East Naples for nearly $4 million last June from Utopia Properties LLC.
Before hosting a location for Joey D’s, that corner lot was a service station for about 30 years. It first was converted into a full-service restaurant and bar for Augustina’s A Taste of Chicago in 2012. The gas pump canopy became the roof of the outdoor bar and the overhead doors of the former garage bays were retained to create open-air dining. Joey D’s kept that setup for its third location that operated there from 2015 to 2022.
Keaton has been preoccupied with more than the proposed car wash in East Naples.
“On top of that, we’ve been inundated with everything else,” he said. “We just opened one in Fort Myers.”
The majority of his nearly 20 car washes are in the Chicago area, but Keaton plans to continue his migration south.
“We’re transitioning to Florida. I’ve been a resident now for six years,” he said.
The “Tim Aten Knows” weekly column answers local questions from readers. Email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.