Q: The sign for the Fairfield Inn at the intersection of Davis Boulevard and Fifth Avenue South/Tamiami Trail East in Naples has been blanked out. Has the hotel closed? Are there plans for a new owner to take over the building?
— Tom Schmidt, Naples
A: The former Fairfield Inn & Suites is between national hotel labels at the moment. Since this summer, it has temporarily been doing business as InnPlace Hotel, an independent name "in place" until its new brand is named.
"We are just in the process of changing names," said local sales manager Ceren Aslan. "Right now, for the next 45 days or so, we are going to be called InnPlace until the new flag comes on."
The new name will be a national hotel company that people will recognize, said Aslan, who referred follow-up questions to her corporate office, which did not call back.
Built in 1994, Marriott's Fairfield Inn at 1785 Davis Blvd. and its 6-acre property, which includes the adjacent, long-shuttered E.B.'s restaurant, was acquired in April by Red Fifth Ave Holdings XVII LLC of Newport Beach, Calif., managed by Sabal Financial Group, according to Collier County property records available on collierappraiser.com.
Efforts were unsuccessful to find out about the future of E.B.'s Steak Seafood and Much More, located between Olive Garden and Red Roof Inn, and connected by a covered walkway to the former Fairfield Inn. A Coldwell Banker Commercial real estate sign posted along Davis Boulevard markets the building as an available redevelopment opportunity.
In April, Eric Bachelor, E.B.'s former owner, said efforts were underway to negotiate with a national chain for that restaurant, which closed more than five years ago but still retains E.B's signs. Bachelor, the owner of Plantation-based Bachelor Foods Inc., did not return multiple telephone messages left during the last three weeks.
Bachelor had architectural plans and permits approved to redevelop E.B.'s that would have razed the restaurant and replaced it with a 40,000-square-foot office and commercial center. More than six years ago, Bachelor also had plans to convert the 124-room Fairfield Inn into a condo hotel. Neither project got off the ground.
What are the pipes along the canal behind Spanky's?
Q: There are large pipes along the canal behind Spanky's Restaurant on Airport Road. What is the purpose of these pipes?
— Bill McElvey, Naples
A: You're seeing part of the infrastructure being used to expand the city of Naples' water distribution system.
Those pipes are a pump station for Naples' integrated water resource plan. The station is an intake/transmission main to pump water from the Golden Gate Canal to the city's wastewater treatment plant on Riverside Circle, near the Naples police station off Goodlette-Frank Road.
"This project will ultimately reduce the use of potable water for irrigation and reduce the amount of fresh water entering Naples Bay," said Justin Frederiksen, deputy director of the city's Utilities Department.
The city's integrated water resource plan significantly boosts the capacity of the local water supply system to offset a projected water shortage of 15 million gallons per day by 2028, reports show.
The city is using aquifer storage and recovery wells at the treatment plant to store water from the canal underground and to pump it out as needed. The water will be part of the city's re-use distribution system for irrigation, Frederiksen said.
"This has been in the works for many years," he said.
Three years ago, the city contracted with Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc. environmental engineers to design the Golden Gate Canal pump station, and, last year, hired Fort Myers construction contractor Stevens and Layton Inc. to build it. The intake structure was completed earlier this year, and the transmission main is scheduled to be completed by the end of next month, according to an alternative water supply report prepared by the city's Utilities Department.
The pump station's plumbing was recently nearly completely enclosed by precast concrete walls on the north side of canal and just west of Airport-Pulling Road. The pump station is being built on a South Florida Water Management District easement along the rear of Bear's Paw golf community, which the city annexed in 1993.
Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.