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Colony mid-rise building demolished

Work began in July to demolish buildings of former resort.

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  • | 10:31 a.m. November 23, 2018
  • Longboat Key
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The centerpiece of the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort is gone.

Workers for Unicorp Developments Inc., which is planning to redevelop the property in the coming years into a five-star hotel and condominium complex, this week leveled the mid-rise building with a wrecking ball.

Work began in late July tearing down the mostly wooden residential units as part of a 120-day agreement with the town to demolish the structures following a municipal emergency demolition order.

The building was half-demolished on Wednesday.
The building was half-demolished on Wednesday.

With the mid-rise building razed, Unicorp now is responsible for clearing the land of debris, smoothing it over and planting grass to reduce erosion and blowing sand.

A request by Unicorp president Chuck Whittall to establish an on-site sales office at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive is pending before the Longboat Key Town Commission. Whittall has said pre-sales of units, which would range in price from around $2.5 million to $10 million, is crucial to finance construction on the 17.6 acre site.

Work on the proposed St. Regis Hotel and Residences, planned for 166 rooms and 78 residential units, will not begin until Unicorp is able to settle with individual unit owners, who hold a stake in the property. The company has been unsuccessful in reaching sale deals with some of the owners and is pursuing a dissolution of the condominium association through judicial means.

The developer has said he hopes to break ground on the project in 2020, though no building permits can be issued without resolution to the ownership issue.


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