Longboaters and Resort at Longboat Key Club members hoping for a revised Key Club renovation-and-expansion application to be delivered to Town Hall shouldn’t expect to see one any time soon.
Still, Key Club General Manager Jeff Mayers says both Key residents and club members are happy with the upgrades to club property in the last 10 months.
In short, the club’s new owner, Ocean Properties Ltd., has invested more than $4 million to renovate and upgrade everything from golf courses to the spa to pool patio furniture.
Those aren’t the only upgrades the Delray Beach-based company is bringing to the island: Two weeks ago, Ocean Properties submitted plans for a $24 million Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort renovation-and-expansion project. Ocean Properties also owns Lido Beach Resort and Lido Key Holiday Inn.
“The capital resources this company is putting back into this club and this Key, in general, is phenomenal,” Mayers said. “They are standing behind their investments and making them better for this community.”
On Nov. 1, Ocean Properties purchased the Key Club from Loeb Partners Realty LLC, which tried unsuccessfully to get a renovation-and-expansion application approved after a version of the project was overturned on appeal in 2011.
Mayers spent his first couple of weeks taking tours of the property and performing walk-throughs of every department.
“During the acclimation process, one of the things I took a look at was the needs for capital investment into the asset,” Mayers said.
Capital investments at the Key Club include upgraded golf courses, a newly renovated spa, new pool deck furniture, new golf carts, new landscaping, new menu offerings, new restaurant equipment and more.
Mayers’ first order of business almost a year ago was sending out a member survey.
“Golf-course renovations was the overwhelming want,” Mayers said. “Members provide feedback to help steer our vision for what they want.”
To bring that vision to fruition, Ocean Properties spent approximately $700,000 on golf-course renovations alone this year and has more upgrades planned for next year. Newly redesigned tee boxes and fairways, new golf carts, locker rooms and a plan to replace existing grass with a more drought-resistant sod are in place. Thirteen acres of sod will be placed on the currently closed Harbourside golf course; staff is working to let the course and its landscaping become overgrown before they cut it down, lay the sod and make modifications.
“It’s all about creating a golf experience for our members, not just giving them a course to play,” Mayers said.
There are also new menus at restaurants with new events for members planned for the season.
“It’s not just for golf,” Mayers said. “It’s a universal, resort-like experience.”
The year-round calendar will include 275 to 300 events.
Walking the resort grounds, Mayers doesn’t fail to say hello to anyone, employees or club members alike.
Common phrases Mayers uses as he holds doors for members or shakes a golfer’s hand include:
“How are you doing today?” “Anything I can do for you?” “Are you enjoying your day so far?”
Mayers is quick to point out that the last year hasn’t all been about capital upgrades.
A new website and marketing campaign completes the image. The club is marketing five new keywords, both for its campaign and as its overall club theme: Savor, play, rejuvenate, explore and unwind.
“Every facet of the resort and club will accomplish those five words,” Mayers says “Savor the restaurants; play; rejuvenate in the spa; explore what this club and this area has to offer; and let us help you unwind and relax.”
Mayers said redesigning the club’s meeting space is next on the list.
“Members help steer the vision for the future,” Mayers said.
• A complete renovation of the Islandside spa
• Golf course renovations at Islandside and Harbourside
• New landscaping at Islandside and Harbourside
• New uniforms and new brand name
• Replacement pool deck furniture at the Inn on the Beach
• New menus at club restaurants
Sound off with Jeff Mayers
• ON THE SPA: “We’re taking it down to the studs and creating a whole new facility to provide the look and create an experience our members and guests would expect.”
• ON THE GOLF COURSE: “We’ve upgraded cart paths, redone sand traps, created new tee boxes and fairways and have 13 acres of new sod coming in for the Harbourside golf course. We did a membership survey and we realized we needed to invest money in the courses to create experience we desire”
• ON LANDSCAPING: “We felt the need to address the exterior of our buildings with a fresh new look.”
• ON NEW UNIFORMS: “We are very proud of staff and no matter how good the club looks, our employees make the first impression.”
• ON NEW POOL DECK FURNITURE: “It’s all about creating an experience and the pool deck furniture and other equipment we have purchased are a part of that.”
• ON NEW MENUS: “Our menus were changed and enhanced to offer more variety and some exciting new offerings.”