Luxury on Pause | Business Observer

When the Naples Beach front Lodge & Golfing Club shut its doors previous month, the…

When the Naples Beach front Lodge & Golfing Club shut its doors previous month, the closing was intended to usher in a new era for the famed Collier County vacation resort.

Right after extra than 7 a long time and three generations, the Watkins family members experienced bid their goodbyes and was planning to offer the 125-acre house to a Phoenix-centered developer of luxurious hospitality venues nationwide.

The Athens Group, in the family’s stead, unveiled ideas for a $250 million investment that would result in a new 220-home 4 Seasons Hotel and as quite a few as 195 condominiums, probably tied to the luxury brand name, in a collection of 4- to seven-story buildings.

“It’s a excellent match,” suggests Kent Schwarz, an executive vice president of professional actual estate brokerage business Colliers, who specializes in lodging and hospitality properties. “The addition of residences there, specifically, really should add great benefit.

“Naples is these an affluent space, and Four Seasons seeks to obtain positions in those people types of markets. And Athens previously has a connection with Four Seasons.”

The new resort, which also is remaining intended to incorporate a golfing course, eating places and retail house and a host of other high-finish amenities, was unanimously authorised by the Naples City Council in 2019 — the exact same calendar year Athens Team contracted to get the 319-area Naples Seaside Hotel and the surrounding beachfront house.

STEFANIA PIFFERI — The Naples Beach Lodge & Golf Club closed May well 23, just after 75 years. A prepared $250 million update is on keep simply because of litigation.

The Watkins family members picked Athens Team immediately after receiving additional than 15 proposals to invest in their property.

Athens Group claims it hopes to have the initial period of its new 8-creating task done in 2023.

The revamped vacation resort would be Athens Group’s initial Florida project, pursuing developments in Hawaii, California, Arizona, Colorado and Utah, in accordance to its site.

It would also mark one particular of two new 4 Seasons-flagged inns and residences prepared in Florida.

The other, in Jacksonville, would be component of a $440 million improvement by Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan, that contains 176 resort rooms and 25 residences. That project would debut in 2025.

But for now, at least, the estimated $100 million-in addition sale in Naples is on hold, the final result of a circuit courtroom lawsuit filed Could 27 — just four days following Naples Seaside Hotel closed and days before Athens Group was anticipated to shut on the home.

Gregory B. Myers, who purchased a house with his wife in 2005 close to the current resort, contends that the new improvement would interfere with his “reasonable use and satisfaction of the land” — specially an easement for streets, avenues and driveways that both equally share.

Myers’ 4-count lawsuit also contends that he has a “vested right” to an “unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Plaintiff has in no way agreed to improve or abrogate any of his rights in the easement home,” the lawsuit states.

Myers is trying to find a court docket injunction to prevent Athens Team from continuing with its project and “an award of costs” affiliated with his lawsuit, paperwork present.

Neither Myers nor Athens Group President and CEO Kim Richards responded to inquiries for comment.

Myers’ grievance also states the 18-hole golfing training course at the Naples Seashore Resort should keep on being in its present form, though it was redesigned approximately a ten years ago as part of an upgrade into a Jack Nicklaus Signature course.

Athens Group has pledged to maintain a golf course as element of its redevelopment.

The company’s affiliation with Four Seasons dates to the early 1990s, when it started operate on the 4 Seasons Vacation resort Hualalai, in Hawaii, an 800-acre job with a 243-space luxurious lodge and an first phase of 41 upscale residences.

There, Japan’s Kajima Corp. retained Athens Team to undertake a redesign of a partly accomplished resort and establish a minimal-increase task. The advancement, completed in late 1996, also includes a Jack Nicklaus-made golf program, in accordance to Athens Group’s web page.

In all, household income there have exceeded $1 billion, and three several years right after its opening the resort obtained an Award of Excellence from the City Land Institute for “influencing resort developers worldwide” with its harmony of the natural setting and the created area.

Today, 4 Seasons operates 41 lodges and resorts in the U.S., in accordance to its web page. In Florida, the company’s flag adorns 4 homes, in Orlando, Palm Seaside and two in Miami.

There are presently only two new Four Seasons’ lodges in growth in the U.S., in Napa Valley, California, and New Orleans. Both of those are slated to open in the coming months, the site notes.

In Naples, in addition to agreeing to retain a golfing amenity, Athens Group has pledged to intensify leisure travel by trimming Naples Beach front Hotel’s 34,000 square toes of conference, party and ballroom house in 50 %.

Richards instructed Naples officers in early 2020 that the firm would build 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North into “a entire world-course resort that Naples will be happy to embrace.”

The plans for the Naples Beach Lodge arrive as other Collier County vacationer locations also are investing for the long term.

At the Ritz-Carlton Naples, operator Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. is acquiring a new 14-tale tower with 74 guest suites, incorporating features this sort of as a lap pool, poolside cabanas and an expanded Club Lounge.


The hotel’s lobby, spa and current rooms also will undergo big upgrades.

At Host Hotels’ Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Naples, the lodge operator has installed a new 14,000-square-foot h2o park and linked features.

Taken with each other, the funds enhancements are the most ambitious in the twin resorts’ 35-yr history.

“With the ongoing problems wrought by COVID-19 and vacation to the Southeast Atlantic islands and somewhere else, Naples looks extremely attractive for several vacationers,” Colliers’ Schwarz suggests.