MADEIRA BEACH — A major hotel has moved another step closer to being built in Madeira Beach.
In a series of votes last week, the City Commission unanimously approved a change in the city's comprehensive plan and changes to the city's land development regulations that allow the officials to negotiate development agreements with hotel developers.
The commission also approved, in the first of two required votes, rezoning of 1.45 acres of waterfront land on the southwest side of American Legion Drive facing the Tom Stuart Causeway.
The American Legion Post No. 273 is adjacent to the property, which is vacant except for recently constructed docks and a boardwalk along Boca Ciega Bay.
The Courtyard Marriott project, as now designed, calls for four stories above base flood level (current codes allow only three stories) and an overall height that would exceed code limits by about 3 feet.
The hotel would have 90 rooms, a restaurant primarily for guests, a small meeting room, an outside swimming pool, hot tub, and seating at an outside bar.
"The city does have other hotels and motels, but this is the first name-brand hotel. This is a great deal for the city," City Manager Shane Crawford said Tuesday.
Final rezoning approval for the hotel project is expected to be given at the commission's Aug. 14 meeting.
"The owners are anxious to start," said project spokesperson Housh Ghovaee, CEO of Northside Engineering Services, Inc. The property owner is listed as Santa Madeira Investment Partners, LLC.
Once the city gives the final go-ahead, Ghovaee said the shovels would be in the ground the next day. He estimated construction would take about 10 months.
But before that can happen, the owners and the city must agree on a development plan.
The project will need setback variances to accommodate a planned covered patio area, pool rest rooms and parking, as well as a height variance to allow for a varying roof design. Also, a city codes variance may be needed to allow the proposed 90 lodging units.
Under the newly created development agreement rules and expected rezoning the property to Planned Development (PD) (presently Commercial Retail/Commercial General (C-3)), the city will be able to extract design, landscaping and other concessions from the developers in exchange for the variances.
"The site is one of the widest single parcels within the city of Madeira Beach and requires special consideration to provide a viable, long-standing hotel development," Community Development Director Lynn Rosetti wrote in a report to the commission.
The property originally was the site of a now-demolished restaurant and several years ago was to be developed for town home condominiums, but when the housing market collapsed that project never materialized.
The city's last major hotel, a Holiday Inn, was demolished several years ago during a condominium building boom.