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Longboat Key Tuesday, Mar. 23, 2021 3 weeks ago

Unicorp proposes further changes to St. Regis

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The new proposal would allow two of the 69 units in the condominium towers to be tourism units.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Unicorp has revised its application for proposed changes to The Residences at The St. Regis Longboat Key Resort.

Brenda Patten of the real estate law firm Berlin Patten Ebling submitted the revisions on March 12 to the town on behalf of the Orlando-based developer.

Among the new changes proposed, two of the 69 units in the condominium portion of the property would be available for occupancy for less than 30 consecutive calendar days or one calendar month, whichever is less. The number of hotel units remains at 166.

Other changes from the previously approved applications include a reduction in number of condo units, some changes to height around elevator shafts on the roof and some levels of public-space occupancy.

“We’re not really talking about much, but because the staff can’t approve these minor changes, they all have to go to public hearings, so it makes it sound like we’re really making drastic changes when really we’re not,” Patten said.

The proposed changes are subject to public hearings and need approvals from the Town Commission and Planning Zoning Board. It’s still unclear how soon the hearings could happen.

“These changes that we're proposing in the revision are so minor and will greatly enhance the development, so I really don’t anticipate them giving a lot of pushback,” Patten said. 

While Unicorp will own the property at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive, the Marriott & Co. will manage it under the St. Regis banner.

Previous plans submitted by Unicorp originally proposed 30 of the 69 residential units be authorized for use as either a residential unit or a tourism unit at the discretion of the owner.

Patten wrote in an email that the two units are not yet designated on the floor plans, but will be before Unicorp applies for building permits.

“Allowing two tourism units in the condominium towers to replace two residential units came about as a request from former owners of The Colony units,” Unicorp wrote in a document submitted to the town. “In the agreements to purchase units from The Colony owners, Unicorp agreed to request this as a feature of the St. Regis Residences.

“These owners had enjoyed rights to occupy units at The Colony at various times during the year for periods of less than 30-days. They would like to continue this privilege at the St. Regis.”

The Marriott also requested two units in the condo towers have availability for short-term rental. The company found more people vacationing bring their families for longer stays and to celebrate special events.

“If larger groups are allowed to rent a unit in the condominium towers for short terms (less than 30 days), then the hotel can arrange for these guests to a rent residential unit a short walk away from the hotel,” Unicorp wrote.

Earlier this month, the town of Longboat Key received applications for proposed changes to the St. Regis development. Unicorp is proposing to reduce the number of residential units in the facility from 78 to 69 units. The plan also calls to increase the size of the remaining units.

Other changes propose reducing the maximum seating capacity by four in the development’s restaurant, bar, ballroom and meeting spaces. Those areas will now have a max capacity of 1,057 compared to the initial plan of 1,061. While some of the proposed restaurant and bar areas lowered their capacities, other meeting rooms in the development actually increased.

In February, Unicorp closed on a settlement to dissolve the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort’s condominium association. A special warranty deed shows Unicorp agreed to pay $18,745,321 for the units.

“I think it will certainly be such a welcome addition to the quality of life out on Longboat that people are going to want to approve it, and it'll be something they'll look forward to,” Patten said.

Unicorp’s plan is to have the resort open by Thanksgiving 2023.

Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

See All Articles by Mark

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