Mortgage magnate and entertainment producer Bill Edwards bought the bankrupt Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club in 2009. He renamed it, redesigned the menu with consultation of a former White House chef, enhanced services for families and started booking Vegas-style entertainment for members and the public.
Now he's talking with Treasure Island city officials as well as club members and others in the community about plans for a 40,000-square-foot addition with suites between 600 and 1,200 square feet.
"This is the perfect time, for our members and my hometown community, we sought to create an iconic five-star, five-diamond resort destination unlike all others, one that welcomes visitors to our beautiful city of Treasure Island with style, flair and elegance," said Edwards.
Joe Jimenez, managing director of the Edwards Group, which includes the Club and other businesses, was quick to say the addition is not a hotel because it is not certain if rooms will be available to the public. It may offer overnight stays only for members, their guests or members of other clubs from around the country with reciprocal agreements.
"From the outside, itself, it will be something totally new and different and fresh but still in keeping with the Venetian tradition of the (existing) building," he said. "The amenities and the services are really what is going to set it apart."
Along with a new spa, they plan to add a "new generation" bowling center to the existing building. The bowling center will be family oriented by day and like a nightclub after dark. It will include a DJ and video screens. The club renovations call for a movie screening room with 40 plush seats and tables and a menu including sushi and champagne.
"That is going to be a fantastic facility over there. All the hotels down here are very much in favor of this," said Harry Black, general manager of the Island Inn Beach Resort at Treasure Island. "The people he is going to attract to this area, it makes it a destination."
The Island Inn has increased bookings over the winter from guests who were in town for shows at the Club at Treasure Island. Black doesn't view the planned boutique hotel as competition, however, because anything that attracts more people to the area is good for everyone.
The club's location is in a designated land use area that doesn't allow for hotels, so there are many steps ahead before construction can begin, according to city planner Lynn Rosetti.
"The sort of things (Edwards) is talking about don't fit neatly into any of our land use categories. Something is going to have to be amended or added," she said. "If we add any land use district we have to amend our comprehensive plan. Anything that increases density requires a voter referendum."
A consummate cheerleader of Treasure Island, Edwards already owns two hotels on the beach, Crystal Palms and the Algiers.
In 2008, what was then called the Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club completed a $7.1 million expansion and renovation. Seven months later, the club filed for bankruptcy. Edwards, who has a nose for spotting a deal and an opportunity, had never visited the club, but bought it out of bankruptcy. It now has more than 1,000 members.
"The club has been nothing but a very positive move here in Treasure Island," Black said.