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South Seas Resort to add hotel units, angers some, others hold change inevitable

By Staff | Jan 21, 2015

Miami architect Jose Gonzalez (left) shares details of a proposed hotel at the South Seas resort. CRAIG GARRETT

Captiva’s largest resort development should gain in size sometime this year.

The South Seas Island Resort property has plans to add 112 units to the further end of the peninsula property, or seven buildings of two-bed room units, many facing the Gulf, all with beach access and other amenities. Parking is planned for under the structures, with a slight modification of a nearby green on the resort’s nine-hole course.

The plan was presented Jan. 13 to the newly constituted Captiva Community Panel, the small town’s advisor board. Jose Gonazalez, the Miami-based architect overseeing the project, made the presentation. The normally placid Panel meeting was crowded with condo association representatives, a lawyer on their behalf, and owners in the complex. Most were in opposition, many insisting that any growth would overwhelm Captiva. Others appeared simply curious, wondering about the immediacy of construction traffic and noise.

The Panel has no authority to approve or disapprove any private project, but its members insisted on followup public hearings and notification of changes as the project advances. Lee County must confirm the amended agreement in 2008 is in compliance. Ground-breaking could start by summer, Gonzalez said.

The new units, all rentals, would replace an aging employee complex, most of which is not used or in disrepair. Workers in the complex would be scattered around South Seas, or join other workers in off-island housing. Old housing would be razed and the land left vacant, project managers said. Shifting to new units would fit within a modified 2008 agreement with Lee County to limit South Seas to 912 total units, a South Seas official said. With the hotel units, South Seas remains some 30 units shy of that total, resort officials told the Captiva Community Panel. The project was introduced to the Panel last October.

“All of this,” Panel member Jack Cunningham said of the project, “will have an impact outside the resort.” Cunnningham allowed the project appears to comply with previous accords to harness South Seas growth.

Still, some South Seas condo groups insist the scope of the project is too large, blocks previously unimpeded views of the Gulf and detracts value and will likely balloon traffic in an area already teeming with fresh faces.