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Q: Do you know what’s happening in the field at Third Avenue South and Eighth Street in downtown Naples? — Sue Martin, Naples 

A: An eight-unit luxury condominium project will be built on that downtown block of Eighth Street South between Third and Fourth Avenue South. 

The grass lot in Old Naples previously was home to offices for Meridian Broadcasting and WINK-TV for many years. The regional broadcasting company owned the land for 25 years from December 1996 to December 2021, records show. The offices there, though, were razed in late 2014 and the property had been vacant until recent site work began on the residential project. 

The new three-story building at 331 Eighth St. S. will be named The Huxley, a nod to the author best known for Brave New World.“The developer has great admiration for Aldous Huxley, a brilliant writer and profound thinker. The name exudes an unpretentious class, and that personal respect for and connection with his work made it an ideal choice,” said Sarah Hudgins, the William Raveis Real Estate luxury properties specialist exclusively selling The Huxley condominiums in a price range from $8.25 million to $13 million each. 

Developing The Huxley is the Augusterra Group, a privately held real estate company headquartered in Florida and an offshoot of the Brookline Companies. It also is building the nearby Stella, a mixed-use luxury development on the site of the former Sea Shell Motel. 

“It’s like the most exciting project of my lifetime. It’s like the joy of my life to work on it,” Hudgins said about The Huxley, noting that this project and Stella basically share the same team, including project manager Jon Kepple, Hudgins’ fiancé. 

The Huxley’s eight units will have four unique floor plans—two townhome-style and two single-level living homes ranging from 3,750 to 6,854 square feet under air. What makes these units especially distinctive is that each one includes a private garage for four to six cars, its own private pool and spa, private commercial-grade elevators and expansive outdoor spaces. 

“While the third-floor units at The Huxley will include private roof decks, lower-level units have a unique townhome-style ground-floor space with flexible design and usage, in addition to a main living level with large terraces and amazing indoor outdoor living flow,” Hudgins said. “The sheer size of each residence, garage and individual outdoor spaces provides for a truly spacious and unique experience within the downtown district of Naples.”

The original proposal for that downtown block was similar to Stella and some other recent three-story developments in the city that offer two floors of condos above ground-floor retail, but its planners decided instead to creatively think more inside the box. 

“So, we said, ‘What could we do here instead of this? What would make more sense for the owners of this, instead of having a bank or a hair salon downstairs?’” Kepple said. “What about more storage, or car storage for their own personal use? They don’t have to drive off-site. So, we did that and we made it fit. So now, we have a minimum of four-car garages, up to six-car garages on the endcaps with lift capabilities, as well. You can add lifts in there, so that’s kind of unheard-of. So, we’re kind of breaking the mold on that.”  

In addition to vehicle storage, the project fills the gap of what people are looking for in the way of exclusivity, Kepple said. “They want privacy and they want security,” he said. “And they want the highest level of finishes they can get for that price point in that range.” 

Additional amenities for each unit include oversized his-and-her individual grand suite closets, grand suite bathrooms with his-and-her private water closets, a butler’s pantry, paneled kitchen appliances, luxury finishes, western-facing views and backup generators to the building.Designed by Naples-based MHK Architecture & Planning to feel open and bright, the units still offer privacy and security, as well as all the benefits and conveniences of metropolitan, condominium living within private, spacious residential units, Hudgins said. 

“The Huxley’s aesthetic is a modern interpretation of European-inspired luxury homes,” she said, “emphasizing indoor-outdoor living, spacious open floorplans and thoughtfully selected materials, including luxury European oak flooring, natural stone countertops, Waterworks plumbing fixtures and Subzero/Wolf appliance packages.” 

Expect the building project to be completed in the first or second quarter of 2025, Kepple said.  

“Hopefully we’re out of permit by August or so, somewhere in there, and break ground in late September.” 

Hudgins has begun taking reservations and has one unit reserved already. A sales office is expected to open by the end of this month at 799 Fifth Ave. S., a block south of The Huxley.

In the works 

Q: I heard a rumor that a new Bath & Body Works will be opening in Pine Ridge Crossings. Do you have any information on whether or not this is true, and if so, do you know when the store is scheduled to open? — Andrea Occhipinti, Naples 

A: The new Naples store for Bath & Body Works is targeted to open this spring in the Pine Ridge Crossing retail center on the southwest corner of Airport-Pulling and Pine Ridge roads. 

Buildout started earlier this year on the new store, a 3,431-square-foot space between the Ulta Beauty store and Green Nature Pet Salon, just east of the Target anchor store. 

“The new store under construction in Naples is projected to open this May,” said Emmy Beach, external communications specialist for Bath & Body Works Inc. “Our store at Coastland Center mall will remain open.” 

Beach was responding to a follow-up question about whether the longtime location for Bath & Body Works at Coastland Center would close when the new store opens less than five miles north. Keeping both stores open would counter what is happening in other markets nationwide. 

In a Feb. 27 letter to Bath & Body Works shareholders, the Ohio-based chain’s board of directors outlined “key strategic initiatives that have delivered strong results to date and position the company positively for the next chapter of its growth.” 

In 2022, the company closed 48 stores, mainly in malls, and opened 95 off-mall North American stores. During fiscal year 2023, the company plans to sustain this pace with 115 real estate projects, consisting of 90 new off-mall locations and 25 remodels to the White Barn store design, offset by about 50 store closures in malls, the board reports. 

Promoted as “Home of America’s Favorite Fragrances,” the retail chain sells liquid hand soaps, body lotions, home scents and many seasonal products, including candles under its White Barn brand. 

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

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