Construction is just heating up at the St. Regis property, but Chuck Whittall, president of Unicorp National Developments, Inc., is already looking forward to opening day. The company has set a tentative opening date of June 6, 2024.
There are now 100 workers on the property and Whittall said there will be 850 at its peak — bused in from an off-site staging area rather than driving in, much to the relief of traffic-beleaguered residents.
“There’s not going to be a lot of room for parking because we’re building on almost every inch of the job site,” Whittall said. “We have a bus service that we hired to transport them back and forth.”
Whittall visited the island’s service clubs on March 15 and 17, speaking at the Rotary Club of Longboat Key and the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key respectively.
He gave an overview of what the finished product will look like. There will be a saltwater lagoon with tropical fish and rays where guests will be able to swim with them or attend educational classes, and the pool and spa will be high-end attractions. The restaurants on the property will be open to the public, while the pool and spa will require day passes.
“We wanted to make it big enough to invite the community in,” Whittall said.
There will be a few vestiges of the Colony, including a Monkey Bar just like old times. The other amenities will take over nearly the entire property, but there will be one tennis court. It will be a wooden deck topped with a clay court and built over a retention pond.
“It’ll pay homage to what was there before,” Whittall said.
As for construction, walls will start going up next week and buildings will take shape in April, said Whittall. Marketing and events manager Natalie Farnella said the team is forming footers and installing pilings at the site, meaning that they’re preparing to get going on the foundation.
Instead of driving piles in a traditional (and noisy) way, the construction contractor is using an alternative and quieter method.