Naples City Council approves new hotel despite opposition from some businesses

NAPLES, Fla. - Naples City Council approved a new hotel for one of the most upscale areas of Naples despite opposition from some nearby businesses Wednesday.

As city council heard a presentation from the developers about the Old Naples Hotel. The developers, the Camaliers, asked the city for several code variances for the 109-room hotel, which would be built near the corner of Third Street South and Broad Street.

Richard D'Amico owns the Campiello Ristorante across the street from the mostly-vacant Plaza on Third Street. He said that unlike most of the ritzy area, the strip mall is dead, would benefit would benefit from a new hotel being built on the site.

"Unfortunately what they're proposing doesn't fit the site," D'Amico said. "I think everybody's willing to work with the developers to try to figure out something that works for them financially, and works for the district. What they're proposing is just mammoth."

D'Amico was one of dozens of speakers at the council meeting. He urged city leaders to not approve the hotel as proposed.

Included among the code deviations developers are seeking are 75 fewer parking spaces than would normally be required for hotel of its size - saying that the hotel staff would encourage guests to use valet parking.

"Trying to valet sounds good in theory, but you still need a place to park the cars," D'Amico said.

But many business owners support the hotel. George Buonocore, owner of the Paper Merchant around the corner from the proposed hotel site, said Third Street South needs the dollars that he believes the hotel would pump into the area during the slow summer season.

"We lose money in the summer," Buonocore said. "The hotel will bring fresh blood, fresh money."

He said the concerns about parking are overblown, considering the clientele that the hotel would attract.

"They're going to fly into the airport, and they're going to get into a limo and come down here," he said. "Once they're down here, they don't need a car. They can walk to just about everything."

 

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