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Longboat Key Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 5 months ago

Palm sprouts on former Colony site

Solitary addition to proposed site of St. Regis development arrives, is planted in the middle of property.
by: Suzanne Elliott Staff Writer

It’s a curious sight sitting alone on the 17.6 acres where the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort once sat.

A single, mature palm tree arrived last week on the property where a $600 million St. Regis Hotel and Residences is proposed, sitting on the land in a planting box meant for transportation. In fact, it’s the first sign of something new happening since the last piece of the Colony's mid-rise building tumbled to the ground in late November.

Is it a sign that development is ready to go?

Is it the first piece of an epic landscaping plan?

Is it a replica in the making of the South Carolina state flag (look it up!)?

Unicorp National Development's Chuck Whittall said last week it might be planted in the future, though plans weren't firm. The next day, it had found a home in the soil of 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive. 

And more greenery is on the way. A $20,000 hydroseeding project of the sandy lot is beginning to show signs of taking root. Tiny sprouts of grass are now visible after weeks of germination. 

Whittall scored a victory earlier this month in his quest to redevelop the site when the Longboat Key Commission gave initial approval to his request to change the town's zoning language to allow, under certain conditions, a temporary sales office on the property before a building permit is granted.

Final consideration of that proposal goes before the Town Commission on March 4.


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