A major redevelopment proposal for East Naples is moving towards reality. At their regular meeting on Monday, Collier County Commissioners approved a purchase agreement for more than 5 acres of land at the corner of U.S. 41 and Davis Boulevard. Developers want to build a hotel and a high-rise condominium tower on the vacant, blighted property.
"To keep it the way it is, vacant, I don't think is good," said Mike Randall, who owns nearby Brookside Marina Boat Rentals. "It's an eyesore."
Randall believes that a new development could revitalize not only the deserted 5-acre lot, but the surrounding area also.
"If it's benefiting area businesses, to help area businesses grow...and get people jobs, I'm all for it," Randall said.
County commissioners echoed that sentiment.
"I believe this is a tremendous project," said Commissioner Tim Nance. "I think this is a project that can be transformational."
The design proposed by Naples developers Real Estate Partners International calls for an 18-story condo building, plus an 11-story hotel with a rooftop restaurant. Retail and other restaurants would be on the ground level.
Commissioner Penny Taylor acknowledges that it's an ambitious project for that property.
"There's going to be a lot of challenges, but what's the alternative?" she asked. "Do we leave it the way it is?"
Randall said he hopes the road infrastructure will support the new project.
"That's my only concern, because they've got to start thinking ahead 10, 15 years down the road," he said. "How much building is going on, and how are we going to get people in and out on the roads?"
The project is not a done deal - Real Estate Partners International still needs to get approval from the Naples Airport Authority to build the tall buildings so close to the flight path of the Naples Municipal Airport.