Marriott pursues expansion on Marco Island

Danielle Dodder Special To The Eagle
Rick Medwedeff, general manager of the Marriott, with proposed plans for expansion.

Danielle Dodder Special To The Eagle Rick Medwedeff, general manager of the Marriott, with proposed plans for expansion.

The Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa is pursuing plans to build a new, 138,000 square-foot convention facility on the site of its current parking lot in an effort to become more competitive in attracting lucrative convention business. To that end, its general manager, Rick Medwedeff, presented preliminary designs to the city planning board on June 25.

Medwedeff believes the expansion is key to boosting business in the shoulder and off seasons, an issue the local tourism industry as a whole has been wrestling with as the economy has declined.

“About 60 percent of the groups and convention business occurs in the third and fourth quarters. Right now we lose tens of thousands of room nights because we don’t have enough meeting space or the right space [for the groups]. That’s just what we turn down, not counting the business you want to capture,” he says.

Currently, the Marriott’s structure supports about 60,000 square feet of meeting space and 727 rooms. It does not, according to Medwedeff, meet current industry standards, with a ratio of meeting space to guest rooms of 58 percent. “It should be over 100 percent, minimum.”

If the new facility comes to completion, it would also give the resort a higher, “JW,” distinction, putting it just under the Ritz Carlton in the brand’s classification system.

The proposed new building would cost the Marriott’s owners, MassMutual Financial Group, approximately $70 million. It would be situated across the street from the main property, where the parking area is now located. Two separate meeting facilities in a single building would give the Marriott 58,000 feet of additional space. The current designs show the convention building set over one parking lot, with a second, two-level lot adjacent.

The designs are meant to be low-level, with the convention building topping out at 40 feet. Plans include water features and landscaping to hide the second garage. “We are trying to keep the profile as low as possible,” explains Medwedeff. The new building would be connected to the main resort by a glass walkway. “We want to solve traffic flow issues and deal with safety. We will also go to 100 percent valet parking.”

Medwedeff added that the Marriott is pursuing two parallel negotiations, working with the city and county to assess planning issues while making financing proposals to MassMutual.

Kris Van Lengen, planning board liaison and city planner, explained the approval process has several phases to go through. There would be a public hearing before the planning board, after which the Planning Board would present City Council with its recommendations and possibly conditions for any changes to the current planned unit development (PUD). Any final approval would occur before a public hearing before city council and a council vote.

Van Lengen added, “As a city planner, I find it hard to find fault with a world-class resort presenting an excellent architectural design that also increases the tax base. The balance to be achieved is to make certain that the design and function are compatible with the surrounding uses.”

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Comments » 14

ed34145 writes:

Uh, what about Mass Mutual's promise to NEVER develop that side of Collier? That was all part of the deal for the variance for the Madeira. It was a promise to not "canyonize" Collier Blvd.

tiredofitall writes:

Traffic flows would be the first thing I would look at....the second concern and almost equally important is the impact on the neighbors directly behind the proposed expansion.

Additions of revenue is the last thing the city planners should be looking at, they should be more concerned with the impact on the island itself and its residents. They seem to be putting the cart ahead of the horse again.

Their commitment to NO building on the opposite side of the street to get their variances for the Madeira may come home to bite them.

Personally I don't care if it's 40' or 400'....it's too much to handle in that area!

GFonda writes:

The City faces a serious shortage of parking spaces near the beach. The Easter Sunrise Service and 4th of July fireworks held on the beach are just two examples. Also, the two recently opened beach access pathways near the Marriott have no public parking facilities. I would like the City to negotiate a benefit from this Marriott proposal in the form of up to 100 (free or minimal cost/parking meters) parking spaces in the proposed Marriott garage for beachgoers. (The City would receive the revenue from these meters). After all, that is how we got the beach path from Mass Mutual.

pageport writes:

If the city approves this, just look at Naples to see how Collier will turn out. The Marriott should not be allowed to turn back on the promise to not develop that area.

stepuporshutup (Inactive) writes:

Build it! Build it! Build it! "Canyonization" give me a break. Set it back from the street a proper amount and you won't even notice it. Now sit back and wait for all the bitter people who can't personally benefit from this try to strike it down. Do the right thing City of Marco Island and let them build it. Better yet build two layers of parking garage along the entire site with massive convention spaces above the garages. The section closest to the beach access would be free parking for beach goers as a concession. Win, win.

here_is_my2cents writes:

I'm guessing that most of the complaints naming beach access or "canyonizing" Collier come from people that don't make a living on tourism. I can only see this addition as an enhancement that could potentially bring not only a larger tax base for the city but also increase the number of visitors to the island. Visitors who eat in our local restaurants and buy from our shops. In this type of economy I think anything that can help our local business deserves a fair look!

blondie writes:

It would be good for everyone if the Marriot would donate space for beach parking at a minimum charge for Marco visitor parking.

MarcoJimbo writes:

As long as we're whoring-out to the beachfront hotels, (Collier Blvd. rebuild and Smokehouse Bay designer bridge) maybe they'd be interested in naming rights. For a modest fee we could let them call this "Marriott Island".

fastboat writes:

in response to stepuporshutup:

Build it! Build it! Build it! "Canyonization" give me a break. Set it back from the street a proper amount and you won't even notice it. Now sit back and wait for all the bitter people who can't personally benefit from this try to strike it down. Do the right thing City of Marco Island and let them build it. Better yet build two layers of parking garage along the entire site with massive convention spaces above the garages. The section closest to the beach access would be free parking for beach goers as a concession. Win, win.

Well said

lauralbi1 writes:

The real reference for anyone feeling like complaining is the trade that Anteramium (spellling?) did with Pier 81 and the Esplanade. talk about a raw deal. At least the Marriott paid over $2 million towards the Collier Blvd Storm Drain and improvements and Mass Mutual gave up the Beach access,
I can't help but think that the complainers are the ones that most illegally park in the Marriott to go to the Beach. Just a thought.
As far as Collier congestion, no issue. In fact, I see a walkking bridge from the Hotel to the other side of the street on the plans (in the picture). As I see it, this will eliminate the foot crossings that continuously interrupt the traffic flow now. These Convention facilities will not increase car traffic as almost 100% of the conventions that take place there with guests that do NOT drive cars or rent cars to the hotel.
Watch sometime and observe all the buses that bring loads of people in and out of the Hotel.
Anyway, this is a mwin, win for the entire Island. The increases in taxes,. both sales and property, will benefit all of us !!!
Ed Issler

jwputnam writes:

I actually agree with Ed. I can't believe it. I am going to make a drink.

ajm3s writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

The real reference for anyone feeling like complaining is the trade that Anteramium (spellling?) did with Pier 81 and the Esplanade. talk about a raw deal. At least the Marriott paid over $2 million towards the Collier Blvd Storm Drain and improvements and Mass Mutual gave up the Beach access,
I can't help but think that the complainers are the ones that most illegally park in the Marriott to go to the Beach. Just a thought.
As far as Collier congestion, no issue. In fact, I see a walkking bridge from the Hotel to the other side of the street on the plans (in the picture). As I see it, this will eliminate the foot crossings that continuously interrupt the traffic flow now. These Convention facilities will not increase car traffic as almost 100% of the conventions that take place there with guests that do NOT drive cars or rent cars to the hotel.
Watch sometime and observe all the buses that bring loads of people in and out of the Hotel.
Anyway, this is a mwin, win for the entire Island. The increases in taxes,. both sales and property, will benefit all of us !!!
Ed Issler

I agree.

Since82 writes:

I say let em build. The marriott has been the backbone of commerce for the residents of marco for 20 some years.

golfgod writes:

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs...

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