Through extensive research – including listening-and-learning sessions with the Watkins family, neighbors, and stakeholders in the Naples community – The Athens Group embraced a number of the existing resort’s beloved features as the foundational core of its proposed plan, including:
COMMITMENT TO THE WATKINS LEGACY
Preserving and enhancing beloved elements of the resort
- Maintaining the family’s tradition of hospitality by the inclusion of a 220-room luxury hotel;
- Preserving in perpetuity 104 acres of the property’s 125 acres as recreation and open space, not only for the resort and the community but also as an expansive green space within the City; and
- Maintaining the tradition of the Sunset Beach Bar and HB’s on the Gulf as gathering places for guests of all ages and the community throughout the year.
HOTEL & HOSPITALITY
Honoring the resort's timeless features with a sense of charm, grace and warmth
Building on the Watkins traditions of warm hospitality and comfort, The Athens Group envisions a new 220-room luxury hotel that embraces the understated Gulf Coast grandeur of this unique beachfront setting. A lushly landscaped approach along Gulf Shore Boulevard will lead to the hotel’s porte cochère, akin to the area’s grand beachfront estates; no detail will be spared in creating a sense of charm, grace and warmth.
All parking will now be accommodated under the hotel and the Market Square and in adjacent surface areas, which will help reduce the current flow of traffic on Gulf Shore Boulevard along with increasing the amount of open space.
The new hotel will honor the site’s timeless features, including:
- A renovated Sunset Beach Bar, offering the best seats on the Gulf for front-row sunset viewing;
- A renovated HB’s on the Gulf for unparalleled beachfront indoor and outdoor dining;
- A new lobby lounge and restaurant overlooking the hotel’s Great Lawn, pool and beach for Gulf-view dining experiences both day and night;
- Adult and family pools framed against the white sands and blue waters of the Gulf;
- Ballrooms, terraces and event spaces that will continue to serve the community and welcome both business and social functions;
- Spacious guest rooms and suites offering expansive Gulf and golf course views for couples and families alike along with the latest in technological innovation for everyone to enjoy; and
- A surf shack outfitter for Gulf, beach and lawn sports and recreation for our guests and residents.
Elevating the coveted Naples lifestyle with unique design concepts and locally inspired architecture
Many Neapolitans first fell in love with the Naples lifestyle when they visited the City’s beautiful white sand beaches and dined and shopped in its charming, historic downtown. The proposed resort will provide both the community and new residents alike with locally inspired architecture and technologically advanced beachfront and golf-side condominium residences. Each residence is being designed to include large balconies and, in some cases, decks. These residences will be serviced by the luxury hotel at the resident’s option, including 24-hour room service, housekeeping and provisioning.
The carefully considered site plan reflects Athens’ more than 30 years of design excellence in integrating luxury hotel services with best-in-class residences that maximize privacy. Like Naples itself, the residences will offer understated elegance within a lush natural environment with exceptional amenities and services.
The proposed plan includes up to 185 total luxury residences in eight midrise buildings, ranging from 4 to 7 stories in height with under-podium parking. Offering maximum owner flexibility, up to 10 of the condominiums near the resort’s Market Square, and next to the golf course, are envisioned as hotel condominiums owned by the resort, whereby each one can be divided into two hotel rooms, adding up to 20 hotel rooms to the golf side of the resort.*
*These rooms are included in the 220-room count referenced for the hotel.
GOLF & TENNIS
The finest resort recreational amenities elevate the experience
Strolling from the hotel and beach to the golf side of the property along the pedestrian-only “Coconut Connector,” the resort’s guests and visitors will discover an expansive, 104-acre recreation and open space in the heart of Naples.
Activated with golf, this piece of paradise will elevate the resort lifestyle for the hotel’s guests and Naples’ residents alike.
Tennis also will be an important part of the resort’s amenities offering. The current vision includes a racquet sport center with hydro-glide tennis courts and new pickleball courts that will be designed to exceed players’ highest expectations.
SPA & WELLNESS
Nurturing the mind, body & soul
Health and wellness are at the core of the Naples lifestyle. The City continues to be recognized as the Happiest and Healthiest City in America, and Naples has embraced the Blue Zones Project for community-wide well-being. The Naples Beach Club will embody the values of a life well-lived, offering extensive programming throughout the resort to nurture the mind, body and soul.
The focal point will be the area’s finest spa and fitness facility, featuring hydro-therapeutic experiences and an outdoor lap pool. A juice bar, fitness classes, individual instruction, and indoor and outdoor yoga are only a few of the offerings that will make the spa and fitness facility a destination unto itself.
The spa will include both individual and couples treatment rooms offering a full complement of health and beauty treatments and massages.
A small activity hub for resort guests, residents and neighbors
The resort will feature a small Market Square for its guests, residents and neighbors that will be anchored by a restaurant with its own bowling alley and the resort’s spa and fitness facilities. A recreational outfitter and an artisanal grab n’ go food and beverage outlet will round out the offerings.
GULF SHORE GARDEN
Transforming Gulf Shore Boulevard into a lushly landscaped passage
The Gulf Shore Garden plan envisions the transformation of the portion of Gulf Shore Boulevard that bisects the property into a lushly landscaped corridor that will further beautify this section of the City’s road network. In addition to landscaping and sidewalks, the plan preserves existing bike lanes and enhances the street to improve pedestrian safety, including a reduction in crossing points, a landscaped center pedestrian median, and an improved pedestrian “Coconut Connector” crossing with added safety features, including lighting.
TRAFFIC & STREET IMPROVEMENTS
Reducing traffic and creating a sense of peace and beauty
As set forth in the project’s Traffic Impact Statement that was prepared for the City and approved by the City Council, the Naples Beach Club is expected to reduce the resort’s overall traffic, especially during peak traffic hours. This reduction in traffic is a function of the reduction in overall hotel rooms from the current total of 319 hotel rooms to the new 220 hotel rooms. The existing parking and traffic situation will also be improved by the consolidation of the resort’s parking underneath the hotel and the Market Square, which will be served by a first-class valet parking program.
By including parking underneath these buildings, the amount of parking-related traffic from the resort on Gulf Shore Boulevard will be dramatically reduced since cars will no longer need to be shuttled to the other parking lots that are currently scattered throughout the property; cars will now be parked on-site as part of the hotel-related improvements. Parking also will be provided under each residential building for the resort’s residents.
Creating a luxurious experience that begins upon arrival
The current hotel has multiple surface parking lots that require the valet team to drive up and down Gulf Shore Boulevard from the hotel’s main entrance and the conference center, which results in increased street traffic. The new plan will significantly improve upon this condition to concentrate all of the hotel-related parking underneath the new hotel and the Market Square, which will reduce traffic on Gulf Shore Boulevard by eliminating unnecessary valet trips. As a developer and owner of five-star luxury hotels and resorts, Athens understands the importance of providing an enhanced valet parking program to better service the resort’s guests, and all hotel parking will now be managed by the hotel valet team. In addition, by removing surface parking lots, additional open space will be provided.
CITY REVIEW PROCESS
The Athens Group has received approvals for all discretionary entitlements necessary to proceed with the development of the Naples Beach Club. A summary of those entitlements is included here. The Athens Group continues to work through the extensive permitting processes with local, state and federal agencies to ensure its responsible development of the property.
The City of Naples has a multi-step review and approval process that includes City planning staff and many City departments, such as Streets and Stormwater, FEMA and the fire department, as well as the Design Review Board, the Planning Advisory Board, and the Naples City Council. In addition, key components of the project will be thoroughly reviewed and approved by the state, such as its stormwater runoff and water quality plans.
The Naples Beach Club project received unanimous preliminary Design Review Board approval with some conditions on November 28, 2018.
The project received unanimous approval from the Planning Advisory Board on March 13, 2019, after two hearings for a Small-Scale Comp Plan Amendment, a Rezoning for a Planned Development, a Rezoning of the R3T-18 zoned area, a Traffic Impact Statement, and a Development Agreement. These same documents were unanimously approved by the City Council on April 17, 2019, and were approved again on May 1, 2019 with respect to the second reading of the resolutions and ordinances.
Following the first round of PAB and City Council approvals, City staff reviewed the development plan through the required Administrative Site Plan (ASP) process. The ASP application was recommended for approval with some conditions by the City of Naples planning staff on August 26, 2019.
On August 27, 2019, The Athens Group submitted the following project entitlement applications to the City: Conditional Use, PD Rezoning, Development Agreement, Parking Needs Analysis, Valet Parking Plan, and Supplemental Traffic Impact Statement. The Naples Planning Advisory Board reviewed and considered the applications at a public hearing on Friday, October 11, 2019, and the PAB approved the applications by four 6-to-1 votes.
The Naples City Council voted unanimously to approve the entitlement applications on November 20, 2019, and again voted to approve the resolutions and ordinances with respect to a second reading on December 4, 2019.
The three Environmental Resource Permits detailed below regulate stormwater discharge offsite and follow strict guidelines as required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Based on the analysis provided by the project’s civil engineer, the redevelopment of the hotel, residences and golf course will decrease water volume to the Gulf of Mexico while improving discharge water quality.
Stormwater permits received:
- FDEP Environmental Resource Permit number 387544-001 (redevelopment west of Gulf Shore Blvd. North)
- FDEP Environmental Resource Permit number 0387536-001 EG (redevelopment of Gulf Shore Blvd.)
- SFWMD Environmental Resource Permit number 11-103750-P (redevelopment of landward of Gulf Shore Blvd.)
Subdivision Plat Approval:
Resolution 2020-14523 was approved by City Council on September 16, 2020, for a subdivision replat located at 851 and 852 Gulf Shore Blvd. North, 1090 Crayton Road, and 485, 801 and 825 South Golf Drive. The Subdivision replat was recorded in Collier County within Plat book 68, pages 52-56. (Resolution approved unanimously)
The purpose of the replat was to create multiple tracts that are consistent with the zoning district boundaries established by previously approved rezoning entitlements.
ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND SUSTAINABILITY
Embracing the natural attributes of this beachfront setting
The Athens Group has a history of environmentally responsible and sustainable development practices. Bringing their award-winning approach to the Naples Beach Club, Athens intends to create a resort that meets the stringent requirements for LEED certification and embraces the natural attributes of this unique beachfront setting. As part of this history, Athens has created a restrictive easement on 104 acres of the property that requires this area to remain recreation and open space in perpetuity. In addition, 70 acres of the 104 acres of recreation and open space will remain as permeable open space in order for the entire City to receive preferential flood insurance premiums.