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South Seas revises hotel project, changes would move some units south

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

Miami architect Jose Gonzalez (left) shares details with Captiva Community Panel member Dave Jensen. CRAIG GARRETT

Tweaking continues on a hotel project at the South Seas Resort in Captiva.

Staff with South Seas on Feb. 10 visited the Captiva Community Panel, presenting revisions to hotel plans that in January included 112, two-bedroom units clustered along the resort golf course and fronting the Gulf.

Due to owner opposition, South Seas architects reworked the project, moving 44 of the hotel units to the south end of South Seas, leaving 96 clustered in a vacant parcel across from the resort marina. The new changes presented Feb. 10 would leave some golf amenities that would have vanished, add parking. Both hotel clusters would have pools. There are no plans to add restaurants. Construction costs are estimated at about $50 million.

The south units would replace worker housing that was to be greenspace. Revised plans would also wrap security around the south units, meaning entry layout will change, designers told the Panel. Hotel units would fully develop South Seas to its allowable 912 units, which includes condos and single family housing, Miami architect Jose Gonzalez told the Panel.

Revised plans were the result of complaints and concerns, mostly from neighbors in existing units worried about lost views of the Gulf or privacy issues, Gonzalez said.

“We heard what you had to say,” Gonzalez said, directing his comments to owners at the Panel meeting. Many had voiced concerns at the Jan. 13 presentation.

Ultimately, however, town officials have limited input on South Seas growing. The Community Panel has no authority to approve or disapprove any private project, but its members have insisted on followup public hearings and notification of changes as the project advances. Lee County must confirm the project meets site-plan compliance. With approval, ground-breaking could start by summer, Gonzalez said.

The new units, all rentals, would replace the employee complex, most of which is not used or in disrepair. Workers in the complex would be scattered around South Seas, or join others off-island. Most workers are with private contractors.

Still, some South Seas condo groups insist the scope of the project is too large, and will likely balloon traffic in an area already teeming with visitors and locals. Their concerns are being forwarded to Lee County commissioners with final say in the project.