Longboat Key Club General Manager Jeff Mayers is waiting for resort owner Ocean Properties Ltd. to unveil plans for a new $100 million hotel at the resort, but Mayers says he isn’t worried.
“Work on it hasn’t started yet,” Mayers said.
Voters have already OK’d a request by Ocean Properties Ltd. to convert the use of 300 units, via a May 2015 referendum, which will allow the resort to build the new Longboat Key Club Hotel.
“They requested, and the voters approved, a conversion from residential density to tourism density,” said Director Alaina Ray of the Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Department.
It was not a density increase request, she emphasized.
Since then, island residents have shown reticence to approve new projects for fear they will generate more traffic woes.
On Nov. 8, Longboat Key voters nixed owner Ryan Snyder’s plan to raze a portion of Whitney Beach Plaza on Gulf of Mexico Drive to build up to 18 homes. That same day, voters quashed Oscar Parsons’ quest to regain simultaneous residential and business use of 4,200 square feet of penthouse office space at Harbour Square.
Those decisions followed on the heels of an Aug. 30 vote that put an end to Floridays Development Co.’s plans for the North End Hotel and Beach Club.
It is in this atmosphere of denial that Delray Beach-based Ocean Properties Ltd. will seek approval for its expansion plan.
Ocean Properties has yet to submit a site plan to the Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Department, Ray said.
Once it does submit a plan, it will be reviewed by Ray’s staff, then go to one public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Board and one public hearing before the Longboat Key Town Commission.
If the site plan is approved, building construction plans must be submitted to the Building Department for review.
Mayers said nothing in the plans has changed since the project was approved by voters in the town’s first mail-in referendum. A 259-unit hotel, expanded meeting space and about 93 condominium units are still in the works, although designs have yet to be finalized.
Ocean Properties Vice President Mark Walsh did not return calls for comment from the Longboat Observer on when a site plan might be submitted.
While the new hotel is being designed, work on another major resort project continued through the summer. Mayers said renovations to resort golf courses, ongoing for the past three years, could be completed soon.
“The White Golf Course (part of the Harbourside Golf Course), the last nine of our 45 holes under renovation, is to be completed by the end of this year,” he said. “It was a very significant investment in the millions of dollars.”
This summer at the resort was much more complicated than simply dealing with the usual tourism lull during the hottest months of the year, Mayers said.
The club entertained guests even while red tide, beach renourishment and hundreds of sand truck hauls came on property during the past few months.
Mayers, 54, in his fourth season heading operations at the 440-acre Resort at Longboat Key Club, said the timing of the challenges worked in the club’s favor.
“Once you get in August and September, it is the slowest time of year,” he said. “That’s when red tide hit, so it really worked out. Unfortunately it happened, but it had minimal impact.”