Major makeover: Island Country Club breaks ground on clubhouse renovation

Lance Shearer

The Island Country Club is getting a makeover. Just over three years after completing a $6 million facelift for their championship golf course, the club broke ground March 22 on a major renovation of the clubhouse facilities, estimated to cost $15.1 million.

Some groundbreakings occur before any actual construction has taken place, but a significant amount of ground had already been broken before approximately 50 people gathered Monday afternoon for the ceremonial event. General contractor Gates Construction, with headquarters in Bonita Springs, began physical work at the site at the beginning of March, and completion is expected by Dec. 1.

“We started on time, and we’re going to finish on time,” ICC president Scott Welliver told the assembled guests, before over a dozen of them hefted gold-painted shovels for the traditional groundbreaking photo. As the head of a building company in upstate New York himself, Welliver has the background to ride herd on a construction project. He said that Gates has done an exemplary job to date, starting on time and efficiently.

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“Construction is construction,” said Gates director of construction Marco Petretta. “There’s always going to be challenges,” but he promised to deal with them. He introduced members of his team, including project manager Ryan Eisenhauer and assistant project manager Amber Granda, who got a shoutout as “the one who does all the work.”

Additional guests were City of Marco Island officials, including police chief Tracy Frazzano, fire-/rescue chief Chris Byrne, and chief building official Raul Perez, along with a representative from project architect Peacock & Lewis.

The clubhouse dining room will close on April 6, but a new outdoor restaurant space, very apropos in the time of COVID-19, will open shortly after Easter. The golf course and pro shop along with tennis facilities will remain operational during the construction period, and the club will be open for business, said director of membership and marketing Heather Hall.

A major focus of the remodel is a redesigned wellness center, replacing the Double Eagle restaurant, dramatically expanding the club’s exercise facilities. The center will offer a variety of spaces designed for specific fitness requirements which will include an exercise room with mirrored wall and ballet barre, a Reformer/Pilates room with overhead suspension system, and a cardio/weights area with a window wall that affords expansive golf course views, according to the Gates website. There will also be two spa treatment rooms, and men’s and women’s restrooms. 

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In addition, the renovation will encompass a major transformation of the ICC’s second floor dining room, home to events for many Marco Island organizations. The intent is to create a more open, functional and flexible space, removing the “sawtooth” that impeded sightlines in the restaurant. The second floor will also hold a new bar and lounge area, and an outdoor deck with expansive outlooks over the golf course, and a private wine room where members can host special events, with storage for 1,400 bottles.

A new first floor casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating will double the club’s casual dining space, with a new kitchen and 24-seat bar. The locker rooms and the club’s entrance – “everything except the administrative offices,” said Welliver – will also be refurbished.

While fitness facilities will not be available during the construction period, “fitness reciprocals will be engaged” during the traditional slow period, said Hall. She said that ICC is at capacity for golf members, with a waiting list, but tennis and social memberships are currently available. No staff will be laid off during construction, she said.

Island Country Clubs general manager is Bid Bakkar, who was promoted internally from clubhouse manager in 2017. Members of the club’s renovation committee include Michael Hook, Ben Farnsworth, Aldo Palombo, and Tom Swartz. The ICC’s vice president is Joan Myers, who matched her top to her hot pink hardhat for the groundbreaking.