Beach hotel

Naples HB Renovation, Sunset Beach Bar Plans Approved by Design Committee

The Naples Design Review Board has approved a revised plan to modernize and expand popular HB’s on the Gulf restaurant.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of the program on Wednesday, clearing the way for authorization.

The new architectural design includes the addition of a private dining room that will provide a chef’s table experience.

The experience would allow diners to get closer to the chef and enjoy a more memorable interactive meal, explained Tim McCarthy, project architect at Hart Howerton in New York.

The board applauded the more immersive approach to restoration.

“I haven’t seen that,” member Lindsey Bulloch said.

Other adjustments include moving a chimney and adding a fabric awning to the roofline and to provide more shade on the western edge of the waterfront restaurant, a short walk from the Gulf of Mexico.

“We’ve moved away from a solid roof,” McCarthy said.

The awning replicates those of HB’s early days, reminiscent of its heritage of warm Naples hospitality – with an old Florida feel.

Opportunities to Improve Renovation Plans

The Design Review Board approved plans to rebuild HB and the nearby Sunset Beach Bar more than a year ago, submitted by its longtime former owners, the Watkins family.

The property’s new owners and developers, The Athens Group, supported that plan but saw opportunities to improve it, McCarthy said.

The developer faced a few hiccups and hurdles before returning to the Design Review Board.

An old aerial view of the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

With its revised plan approved, the developer can now apply for building permits to begin renovations. That right had expired, under the original plan proposed by the Watkins.

From the outset, The Athens Group promised to ensure that HB’s and the Sunset Beach Bar and their traditions would remain at the center of its upscale resort development known as Naples Beach Club.

The resort project will include luxury condos and a Four Seasons Resort on a 125-acre site, including the existing 18-hole golf course and a new Market Square.

The new development will replace the famous Naples Beach Hotel, owned and operated by the Watkins family for over 70 years.

Although it took longer than expected, The Athens Group can now complete the renovations in the safest and smartest way possible, leveraging the latest Florida building codes and science, McCarthy said.

Indeed, during the delay, the developer obtained a change in the property’s floodplain designation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said, which will allow for the use of better construction technology, including dry flood protection.

Above all, said McCarthy, the “toes in the sand” feeling will not be lost.

The plan is to expand HB by 3,500 square feet, while preserving its views and unassuming coastal building style, including its metal roof.

Design Review Board, the public has their say on the improvements made to the HBs

Board member Luke Fredrickson liked the latest changes.

“It’s fun to see evolution come to fruition and see talented architectural firms address these issues and make changes that I believe actually improve the design of the project,” he said.

Others accepted.

Several board members felt that the improvements made to HB could have been even better, given the caliber of its architects and the significant financial commitment of the developer and its investors. They suggested there could have been lusher landscaping and more extensive shade, setting a new bar for others to follow in Naples.

Rendering of the Naples Beach Club

Although she clearly liked some of the new features, member Adriane Orion rejected the final plan, saying it was not climate-sensitive and sorely lacked the energy-efficient architectural and design features required to reduce its impact on the environment. ‘natural environment.

“Absolutely not. No,” she said, not voting alone.

Naples resident Miranda Sharkey spoke in favor of the planned upgrades to HB and Sunset Beach Bar, encouraging the Design Review Board to move them forward.

HB’s, she said, holds a special place not only in her heart, but in the hearts of her family and friends, who have shared special times there, enjoying its delicious food and friendly, people-oriented atmosphere. the customer, while enjoying its beautiful sunsets.

She looks forward to the opening of the much improved restaurant and bar.

“The community will be grateful for this gift,” Sharkey said. “I know I am, and my family.”

The project is moving forward despite the opposition of an angry neighbor

Neighbor Greg Myers continued to voice his opposition to the planned restaurant and bar renovations, urging the Design Review Board not to give them the green light.

After making his brief comments, he said, “I see stares at the painting. I have no faith in this painting except a few people. And I doubt you’ll do the right thing.”

Myers also objected to a final landscaping plan for a maintenance building and cooling plant on the golf course, which the Design Review Board also approved on Wednesday,

Myers told the board that if he didn’t do the right thing, a judge would, suggesting he could take legal action if the votes didn’t go his way.

In his persistent attempts to halt the proposed Naples Beach Club redevelopment, Myers has filed a series of lawsuits against the city, developers and others over the past 15 months, most of which are in waiting.

In May, a circuit court in Collier dealt a blow to him in his property rights dispute, granting summary judgment in favor of the current and previous developers and owners.

Based on publicly recorded dishes and easements, Myers claimed that he and his wife had an interest in the resort property, so they should have more power to determine what happens to it.

Judge Lauren Brodie concluded otherwise, ruling that the couple had not presented “sufficient” evidence to “support their claims” for such a right to influence or block development.

Reaction to Design Review Board upvotes

After Wednesday’s Design Review Board meeting, Myers emailed its members and city leaders, including the mayor, expressing disappointment with its favorable decisions.

He claimed the council had approved “18,500 square feet of commercial/industrial buildings on land designated ‘public, semi-public and private recreational and open spaces'” in the city’s comprehensive plan, which allows for ” zero density / zero intensity”.

View of HB in the early days.

“What a bunch of dopes,” he wrote.

Further, Myers warned that if The Athens Group “chose to proceed knowing that zoning approvals are inconsistent with the future land use designation of the Comprehensive Plan, they do so at their own risk.” “.

He concluded his e-mail with two words: “Fed up”.

In a response to his email, board member Orion said, “Sir, you are being rude and that is rude.”

While there are disagreements, she writes, the board and everyone else involved in the redevelopment project are “all trying to do the best they can for our community.”

Planners found the planned development cohesive and compatible, with no concern for any part of it, including upgrades to the HBs and Sunset Beach Bar.

The Athens group described Myers’ lawsuits and legal and procedural challenges as baseless and “without merit.”

His motives are unclear.

In a statement, Jay Newman, the developer’s chief operating officer, said company executives were pleased with the Design Review Board’s continued support and appreciated its time and “thoughtful contributions” on Wednesday.

“We look forward to renovating HB’s and the Sunset Bar, carrying on the legacy and bringing them much improved and more beautiful than ever to the community,” he said.