The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, an area staple, is set to be demolished and renovated by its new owners. After 74 years in business, the sun is setting on the sprawling beachfront resort.
With all the growth and development, many people feel landmarks like this one are disappearing. Many know this as a traditional spot for watching the sunset.
“It’s obviously a landmark,” Jamie Pollock said. “It’s been here since World War II, and I think it’s part of Naples.”
It will be hard to let go for people such as Joyce Edwards.
“When my husband and I bought our house, we came here to celebrate,” Edwards said. “Have a shrimp cocktail and a little bender.”
Edwards has lived in Naples for decades now, visiting The Naples Beach Hotel for a last time before the nostalgic property is bulldozed.
“I was not happy when I heard about this being changed,” Edwards said. “Why can’t they stay the same? That’s simple elegance in there.”
The new owners say the hotel and golf course will officially close May 30, making way for the new renovations, a market square and nearly 200 condos.
“It’s tragic to see something that’s been around for so long change in such a major way,” Pollock said.
Reg Buxton was on Naples City Council when the longtime owners, the Watkins family, turned the hotel over to The Athens Group.
“They could have just said, ‘Here, we’re going to sell it; we’re going to make a billion dollars,’” Buxton said. ”They followed up with what they done forever, which is keep the community in mind.”
The Athens Group promises to keep 100 acres as open and recreation space, have beachfront dining and keep the golf course open to the public.
“Even though its new, the history of this property … It’s still here,” Buxton said.
The new owners also promise to keep the atmosphere as it’s always been. Construction is planned to start June 2021, and developers hope to have a grand opening at the end of 2023.
“The memories stay,” Buxton said. “You don’t get rid of the memories.”