Media Coverage

Naples City Council Approves new resort

Naples Daily News, Nov 21, 2019

Naples City Council has approved plans for a new five-star resort that will take the place of the historic Naples Beach Hotel …

The Athens Group President Kim Richards issued a statement thanking the community for its support. “Undertaking this project is a responsibility we take joyfully yet seriously, not only for the City of Naples, but also for the Watkins family and the legacy of hospitality they have forged in this community,” the statement reads. “It is an honor to follow in their footsteps, and we look forward to stewarding the next generation of the Naples Beach Hotel.”

Naples Daily News, March 18, 2019

“The Athens Group plan would maintain the golf course as green space in the heart of the city. It would ensure public access to the beach and the hotel, with its beachfront bar and restaurant.

“In return, the developer is asking for variances on setbacks and an additional 11 feet of building height on some structures.

“That’s a reasonable trade-off, in our view …Whatever growing pains might accompany the Athens Group’s proposal, we think [the] alternatives would be far worse.

“The Planning Advisory Board, after careful deliberation, an open discussion and a lot of reading, came to the same conclusion.

“Good for them and everyone else who helped write this chapter in Naples’ history.”

Naples Daily News, February 26, 2019

”The limit for buildings in the area is 87 feet. To build seven stories of luxury condominiums, the developers, the Athens Group, say they need the buildings to be 98 feet tall, so they’re asking for permission to build an additional 11 feet.

“In return, they’re offering to do things like downzone the neighboring golf course so there’s no chance it will be converted to residential use and to maintain public access to the beachside bar and restaurant.”

Naples Daily News, February 14, 2019

“The Watkins family, longtime owners and operators of the Beach Club, have indicated their intent to turn the enterprise over to someone else. We can only imagine the offers that came their way to redevelop prime beachfront real estate with zoning in place to build hundreds of units in a dozen mid-rise buildings.

“The one they selected, from the Athens Group, with a reputation for successful development of upscale resort and residential projects, looks like a winner. It calls for a smaller hotel, smaller meeting spaces, additional hotel amenities, high-end residential condos and, of course, golf.

“Decades of community involvement and good stewardship of the property have earned the Watkins family a measure of trust. If they say the Athens Group proposal was the one that best fit their goals of financial viability and keeping the Beach Club an integral part of life in Naples, we tend to believe them.”

Naples Daily News, November 15, 2018

“As much as we hate to see the old hotel go, we are heartened to learn that through change, some things will remain.

“Most importantly, the golf course, representing more than 100 acres of green space, is to remain a golf course. While additional renovations are planned to the course, the hope is that it will mostly be open to play throughout the transformation.

“We’re happy to see that then-Collier County Commissioner Tim Nance’s worst fear, expressed in 2016, that the whole property could become high-end housing, did not come to pass.

“Also encouraging is the part of the plan that calls for HB’s on the Gulf and the Sunset Beach Bar to be open to the public once the new property is unveiled.”