Naples leaders consider more downtown development

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NAPLES, Fla. The city is about to experience a major building boom.

Naples real estate developer Harry Zea recently presented a three-story project called Kelly’s Landing to city leaders. The new development would include new shops, restaurants and a hotel on Fifth Avenue South next to Tin City.

“I think it’s definitely time,” said tourist John Wright. “Just a little different energy, a different vibe. I think it will be great for the area.”

It would go in place of the soon-to-close Kelly’s Fishhouse, disappointing fans like Jen Norqual, the owner of Docks by Jen on Fifth Avenue. But Norqual is eager to see the city grow.

“I think it’s good,” she said. “Change is hard to grasp sometimes, but change brings new opportunities.”

Kelly’s Landing isn’t the only development slated for Fifth Avenue; a downtown promenade is also in the works, boasting world class restaurants with rooftop and waterfront dining, as well as more parking.

“I think it’s inevitable,” resident Gail Kent said. “I think people have discovered what a beautiful place we live in and I think it’s gonna be great.”

Business owners in the area saw sales increase by 15 percent since the Hyatt House opened a couple of years ago, they said, and hope the influx of customers continues.

Zea’s plans must get approval from the Naples Design Board before moving onto City Council.

While Kelly’s Fishhouse is still open for business, it is unclear when the restaurant will close. The promenade is expected to open this fall.

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