Beach Club renovation in full swing
■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
As work continues on the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club and surrounding property, it’s starting to become easier to see what the lay of the land will be. The beautiful new club and Gulf-side cottages are starting to come to life. Island residents and visitors have been curious as to what is going on within the fenced-in areas that used to be the dog park and the Club, so we wanted to give you a sneak peek.
It’s not easy, though, as everyone who enters either job site must be checked prior to entering each day. Their temperature is taken by a healthcare provider and they are asked questions as to how they feel, and if they have been exposed to anyone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Once cleared everyone receives a colored wristband and masks are mandatory at all times. This process began early in March as a preventative measure for job-site, as well as the community. The priority has been to keep everyone healthy and working.
When the construction is done, nine new guest cottages will stand tall against the blue Gulf waters and were designed to carry the theme of the existing buildings that remain. The Inn introduced the concept to its members in 2018, and made their plans public at the end of that year.
The first phase of the project – to build the cottages, fitness and yoga facility and Inn Adventures – is moving along at a rapid rate; They are, in fact, almost complete on the exterior of all buildings and work has commenced on all interiors. The fitness and yoga studio will feature a beautiful 5,000 sq. ft. outdoor yoga garden and state of the art exercise equipment, along with a new fitness pool. Cabinets, millwork, painting and new pools are all in various stages of completion. Even the landscaping is progressing around the newest additions to the Inn’s accommodations.
There are two new four-bedroom cottages and seven new two-andthree- bedroom cottages. The cottages have their own pool and cabana.
Each of the cottages has a parking area underneath, open air seating and views of the Gulf. There will also be additional parking off the new roundabout that has been created in the center of the north parcel, as well as parking in the northeast corner of the property. All of the new cottages will be 28’ 2”, with a finished grade of eight feet.
The seawall will remain between the new buildings and the Gulf. The front living areas of the buildings will face the Gulf and the larger cottages will have bedrooms with Gulf views too. Chris-Tel Construction and The Gasparilla Inn has been working closely with Lee County to meet all industry standards for turtle lighting compliance and ADA accessibility.
If you’ve driven down 5th Street West lately you have probably seen the new entrance to the north parcel, which has been created just in front of where the existing tennis building once sat. This new entrance gives a large open feel to the new entry and exit.
Work has also begun on Phase Two of the project. The Inn Adventures building that used to sit on the south end of the Beach Club’s main parking lot is gone, freeing up additional space for guest parking. Renovations have begun on the Beach Club building, which will not total in excess of 50 percent of the original building’s value. The tennis building that once stood at the corner of Gilchrist Avenue and 5th Street West has been moved to the north, and is now located next to where the old tennis/new tennis courts and pickleball courts have been built. New bleachers have been attached to the existing tennis building, for spectators to sit and watch matches in comfort. An elevator has also been included in this plan, to complete the tennis club’s ADA accessibility goal.
The spa and the James Griffith Salon will remain in place, as will the dining facilities. Three new pools will grace the original Beach Club and the overall flow has been updated to accommodate special events for members and guests.
Currently both projects are slated to be completed in the fall. With progress moving along at a rapid rate, unless there are unexpected weather events or complications in the supply chain due to COVID-19, The Gasparilla Inn is looking forward welcoming members and guests back and unveiling the two completed phases. Keep reading the Beacon for more information.