|By Ryan McCarthy, Florida Keys Keynoter,
(Marathon, Fla.)McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 11, 2013--Real estate development is an arduous process in the Florida Keys, but a pair of large-scale hotel properties in Marathon are inching their way closer to fruition.
Developers of the long awaited 125-room Hyatt hotel at the Faro Blanco property, and a proposed 95-room Courtyard by Marriott, both in Old Town, are on the verge of pulling building permits that would allow them to begin constructing much anticipated additions to the Middle Keys economy.
Meanwhile, construction is ongoing at Pritam Singh's Tranquility Bay Resort, where the developer is adding 16 one-bedroom units to his 87-unit hotel.
All three properties, along with Bonefish Bay Motel near Key Colony Beach, were recipients of new hotel room allocations doled out by the city in January. Marathon was awarded a pool of 100 units by the state Cabinet last year in recognition of its progress in completing a central sewer system.
Key West-based Spottswood Cos. has long planned a Faro Blanco reboot, but a down economy postponed construction for several years. The company put plans on hold again when Marathon was awarded the new units in order to apply for a portion.
Roger Masters and his partner, Prime Hospitality Group, also held out for a share of those new allocations for their Marriott property.
The city awarded 65 units on Jan. 22, with Spottswood receiving 25, Masters 19, Singh 16. The 20-unit Bonefish Bay Motel near Key Colony Beach received five units.
City Planner Karl Bursa told the Keynoter that Spottswood and Masters have applied for building permits and that each is in discussions with the city regarding final details.
"The applicants must begin construction within 90 days of when they actually get their permits and they have to complete construction within 18 months of commencement in order to retain their" transient rental units, he said.
Masters said that local company Discount Rock and Sand has already begun dumping and compacting fill on the hotel site. He said construction would move quickly when it begins.
"In a perfect world...our partners have built two hotels in Homestead in less than a year. Barring any weather concerns, we expect the same in Marathon," Masters' reference to Homestead identified the Hampton Inn & Suites and a Courtyard by Marriott completed there in that time frame.
Spottswood Cos. Vice President Bill Spottswood said he expects to demolish the old Hall's Diving Center and Pancho's restaurant buildings on their site in the near future.
"We anticipate filing our building permits shortly thereafter," he said.
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