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Longboat Key Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016 6 years ago

Colony demolition marks ‘baby steps’

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Unicorp National Developments plans to demolish five deteriorating buildings at shuttered resort.
by: Terry O’Connor News Editor

Five crumbling commercial use buildings will be bulldozed by Friday at the long-idle Colony Beach and Tennis Resort to make way for an eventual $1 billion redevelopment of the roughly 18-acre property.

“It’s baby steps,” said Unicorp National Development President Chuck Whittall, who is spearheading the redevelopment.

The Longboat Key Planning Zoning and Building Department issued permits Aug. 11 for demolition of the five Colony buildings closest to Gulf of Mexico Drive.

PZB Director Alaina Ray said the buildings had begun to collapse with roofs caved in or sagging, and walls starting to lean. Former uses included a spa, small conference center, housekeeping, maintenance and laundry.

“This is the first progress we’ve seen in about six years, so this is a good sign,” Ray said of the demolition permits.

All property could be razed within nine months. Redevelopment will not happen so quickly though, Ray said.

Whittall has outlined plans for a 180-unit hotel, with an additional 180 condominiums but will seek approval for up to 417 units. That would provide 237 tourism units if owners of every unit opted to keep a unit with a 30-day stay option.

Residents still must approve the requested additional density, then Unicorp must apply for a comprehensive plan amendment and rezone to establish a planned unit development, said Ray.

“You’re looking at a couple of years,” Ray said of a timeline for the process.

 

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