The luxury resort at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key originally had projected opening Dec. 1.
| 9:00 a.m. November 30, 2016
About those 2016 reservations for the grand opening of the new $24 million Zota Beach Resort. They’ve all been canceled.
The luxury resort at 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key originally had projected opening Dec. 1. Then the date was pushed back to February.
Now, it’s shooting for May.
“The project is simply experiencing some unforeseen delays, which is nothing unusual for any construction project,” said Sandra Rios, spokeswoman for hotel owner Oceans Properties Ltd. “We’re not going to open Dec. 1.”
Construction workers swarm the property every working day, but it still looks far from completion. The pool remains in the skeletal stage, as does the main resort building.
Zota Beach Resort had been taking reservations for months but quietly switched its “Opening 2016” banner facing the GMD construction site in October for an “Opening 2017” banner.
Whenever opening day does come, Zota Beach Resort will fill a need on Longboat Key, tourism officials say.
“Our bureau is thrilled to see Zota open this spring, especially since we desperately need short-term rental accommodations on north Longboat Key,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Zota is rebuilding on the site of the former Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort.
Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce President Gail Loefgren said she’s fielded more than a few calls from people looking for the former Hilton.
“They are looking for the old Hilton, and nothing comes up,” Loefgren said. “So that’s when we tell them about Zota Resort.”
Construction began in June 2014 on the new resort, which will feature an 84-room hotel tower and a renovated 103-room hotel on site. The project also calls for a new lobby, pool, restaurant and wine bar and 2,758 square feet of meeting space.
Its website, zotabeachresort.com, lists Viento Kitchen & Bar as the new Gulf-front restaurant and wine bar. No menu or wine list is available.
The delayed starting date has heightened interest in checking out the new resort, according to Karen Rangel, regional director of sales for Ocean Properties.
“There’s a lot of demand and a lot of curiosity about what’s going on with the property,” Rangel said.
The development required improvements to public infrastructure to increase water and wastewater capacity under the Manatee County facility investment fee ordinance.
Increasing capacity cost a facility investment fee of $72,008, which the developer must pay prior to gaining a certificate of occupancy. In return, the town agrees to provide water and wastewater services.
Developer agreements were approved Nov. 15, by the Planning and Zoning Board and now go before the Town Commission. Public Works Director Juan Florensa recommended approval.
Ocean Properties Vice President Mark Walsh previously said Zota room rates will range from a minimum of $269 a night to a max of $539. Ocean Properties submitted plans to the town for an additional 85 tourism units, a request that was approved.
The Zota Beach Resort project was the first to take advantage of a pool of 250 tourism units town voters approved in 2008.
Delray Beach-based Ocean Properties owns more than 100 hotels, including the Resort at Longboat Key Club, which it purchased in 2012. It also owns Lido Beach Holiday Inn, Lido Beach Resort and Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach.