By Jay Newman, COO / The Athens Group, Developer of the Naples Beach Club

As we continue to work with the community and the City of Naples on the Naples Beach Club, a number of residents have asked about the status of the resort’s development. I appreciate “Life in Naples” giving me the opportunity to provide an update as we continue to move forward.

HB’s on the Gulf

The Athens Group and our partner, MSD Partners, acquired the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club from the Watkins family in October of 2021. Our purchase was the culmination of several years of working with the family and the City to enhance the Watkins family’s wonderful legacy with a new luxury resort, The Naples Beach Club, that is befitting of Naples.

The resort will be managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a luxury hotel company with a sterling reputation for quality and community commitment. The Naples Beach Club will be a beach-front, 124-acre resort with a 216-room hotel and no more than 185 luxury residences.

We commenced demolition of the existing hotel and most of its facilities, with the exception of the Sunset Beach Bar and HB’s on the Gulf, earlier this year. The first phase of the project, which includes the new hotel, the beachfront residences, Market Square, and the new Conference Center is expected to be
completed in late 2024.

As promised, the first phase will feature the beloved Sunset Beach Bar and HB’s on the Gulf, which will be significantly improved and will remain open for the community to enjoy. We look forward to sharing many a sunset with you at Old Naples’ only beachfront dining location.

In 2020, we agreed to grant to the City its first Conservation Easement, and we finalized the legal documentation earlier this year. The Conservation Easement will ensure the vast majority of our property, in fact more than 80%, will be preserved forever as recreation and open space.

We and the City Council are incredibly pleased that the Conservation Easement will be in partnership with the North American Land Trust (NALT), a preeminent non-profit organization responsible for more than 600 conservation easements nationwide. NALT is known for its innovative land conservation partnerships. I am pleased to report we signed this historic easement with Mayor Heitmann in the spring and expect it to be recorded early next year when the City issues the building permits for the resort’s first phase.

The Conservation Easement also includes, in a fixed location, 70 contiguous acres of open space within the total 104.6-acre easement area along the northern, eastern and southern perimeter of the existing golf course. I am proud to say that the Conservation Easement is the successful culmination of a complex, innovative, and historic collaboration among the City of Naples, NALT and the Naples Beach Club.

Our decision to grant the Conservation Easement was strictly voluntary and reflects our desire to give back to the community as we develop this beautiful property in the heart of Old Naples. In short, this Conservation Easement will ensure that our golf course will never be developed for residential or commercial use.

The benefits and value to the City’s residents from this easement will be significant, as it will further the goals and objectives of the City of Naples Vision 2021 “to protect and enhance the natural environment” while ensuring “sustained economic vitality” and the City’s “natural beauty” and “quality of life.”

This landmark agreement will serve as a proud legacy for future generations of Naples’ residents, as well as a model of conservation and collaboration for other communities to follow.

As the developer, we are committed to creating the most beautiful resort possible in Naples, and we look forward to sharing it with you,  your families and your friends when we open. We sincerely appreciate your support and well wishes.

Feel free to contact me and the development team with any questions or comments. For further information, please visit NaplesBeachClub.com. I can be contacted at jnewman@athensdevco.com.

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