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 the golf course, 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, 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 & 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’ 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, 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
Where the legend was born
Strolling from the hotel and beach to the golf side of the property along the pedestrian “Coconut Connector,” the resort’s guests and visitors will discover a cherished piece of this property’s incredible history: Naples’ first 18-hole golf course. Originally built in 1929, the course was most recently re-designed by Jack Nicklaus in collaboration with John Sanford, on the same site where Jack famously broke 40 strokes for 9 holes for the first time, at the age of 10.
Preserving this storied golf course and improving its challenging layout with enhanced landscaping, amenities and services will elevate the game for the hotel’s guests and Naples’ residents while maintaining this expansive green open space.
The tennis center also will be retained and improved. The current vision includes six hydro-glide tennis courts and two 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 was recognized in 2018 for the third consecutive year as the Happiest City in America, and Naples has embraced the Blue Zones Project for community-wide well-being. The Naples Beach Club Hotel, Residences and Golf Course 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 a 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 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 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 Traffic Impact Statement, the proposed plan 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 proposed 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 an exceptional 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 proposed 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 can be provided.
CITY REVIEW PROCESS
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, the key components of the project will be thoroughly reviewed and approved by Collier County and the state.
The proposed project received unanimous preliminary Design Review Board approval with some conditions on November 28, 2018.
The Naples Beach Club Redevelopment 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 then again on May 1, 2019, for 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 is scheduled to consider the current project entitlement applications on November 20, 2019.
The Athens Group has successfully worked with the City of Naples and the community for more than a year on the project approval process.
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 Hotel & Golf Club, Athens expects to create a resort that meets the stringent requirements for LEED certification and embraces the natural attributes of this unique beachfront setting.