The Marriott Hotel Resort & Spa is embarking on a public campaign to inform the folks as to the benefits and need to expand its facilities to meet the market of the 21st century. The expansion will add more conference/meeting space to the existing facility as well as adding rooms/suites.
The latest proposal requires the addition of significant number of parking space. Why the concern?
Marriott General Manager Rick Medwedeff’s opening salvo was to dispel rumors circulating about the size of convention centers. He showed the Orlando and Tampa convention centers with meeting space in the millions of feet. Folks would have been better served if he provided a more realistic perspective by comparing the size of various Marriott Resort & Hotel branded hotels in Florida for a fair comparison, specifically total conference and meeting room space. More important is the size of meeting space relative to the communities that host them.
To offer a perspective, I believe scale is important. When reviewing the 29 Marriott hotels under this brand in Florida, the current Marco Island Beach Resort is the thrid largest in terms of total meeting space as defined in the online Marriott website. The top five are:
Marriott Hotel & Resort (Brand) Meeting space Population Location
Orlando World Center 450,000 250,415 Orlando
Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach & Spa 100,000 170,065 Fort Lauderdale
Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa 56,888 16,556 Marco Island
Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa 56,000 832,993 Jacksonville
Tampa Waterside 50,000 346,609 Tampa
The expansion will provide total meeting space approaching 73,000 feet with an additional 15,943 feet for restaurant and bars.
Given this scale, Marco is looking more like the large metropolis than the “tropical small town and resort character” found in the documents that control the future development on this island.
There is a cry among many residents to not become a Fort Lauderdale. I believe we are about to cross that road at 400 South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island.