Developer gets preliminary approval for Bayfront art gallery

The developer of Bayfront gained permission this week to add an art gallery to his downtown waterfront property in hopes of making the commercial area more visible to passersby.

Kevin Stoneburner received preliminary approval for his 4,778-square-foot gallery at the Naples Design Review Board meeting Wednesday after board members tweaked some aesthetic aspects of his proposal.

The space will line the parking garage along Goodlette-Frank Road for the property along the Gordon River.

"Right along Goodlette, there's a big parking garage with a lot of trees that sort of mask it," senior planner Adam Benigni said. "Usually, you just drive by. ... Stoneburner wants to do it to show people here's where Bayfront starts and why don't you come inside?"

Bayfront, near U.S. 41 East, features shops, restaurants, office space and residences.

Stoneburner said he hopes the improved facade will draw customers who don't realize commercial space exists behind the parking garage.

He plans to allow the existing gallery in Bayfront, Masterpiece Investment, to move to the new space. That would leave a commercial vacancy he could fill later, he said.

For years Stoneburner has had city approval to build two more commercial buildings topped with residential units at the entrance to Bayfront. He said plans are still in the works and new renderings were being drawn up this week.

"The economy, you know, was such that it wasn't prudent to build them," he said. "They had a lot of residential in them, and the condo market is what it is."

Buildings 6 and 7 would flank the entrance from Goodlette-Frank Road. They first came before the city's Design Review Board in 2006. Benigni said Design Review Board approvals lapse after a year of inactivity, so Stoneburner would have to come back before the board to get final approval for the two structures.

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