|By Ryan McCarthy, Florida Keys Keynoter,
MarathonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 30, 2011--One of Marathon's most fondly remembered resorts appears set to reopen in 2012 now that the Marathon City Council on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for plans for a 100-unit hotel at the former Faro Blanco Marine Resort near mile marker 48. It's been renamed the Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club.
The city signed off on the development deal in February 2006 but the nation's economic slide resulted in the Spottswood Co. letting it sit idle. The site where the former resort was razed is now overgrown and fenced off. Some consider it an eyesore.
Spottswood's amended conditional use and redevelopment agreement includes plans for a 150-seat restaurant and moves away from the "condo hotel" trend in the mid-2000s. All units would have one bedroom.
According to city records, Spottswood also plans to build 14 affordable housing units, a manager's unit, 86 boat slips, a 171-boat storage building, clubhouse and dock master's building. The hotel will be on the bayside of U.S. 1 while the marina will be on the oceanside on 15th Street.
"We'd like to get this off the ground by the end of the year and have it open at the beginning of next year," Spottswood Co. Vice President Bill Spottswood said. He said the resort will fly a Hyatt flag.
"We're in it for the long haul. We want to be a part of the community," he said. "Friends of mine outside the county have said, 'Are you crazy, you're building something?' But the Keys have been fortunate; we do have people coming."
Council members had nothing but praise for the project on Tuesday.
"We thank you for investing in our city. Whatever help we can give you, we're very happy to give you. The only thing I'd ask you to do is get it done," Vice Mayor Dick Ramsay said.
Mayor Ginger Snead recalled, as many do, the popularity of the old Faro Blanco, with a huge pool open to the public and poolside bar and restaurant, and said she hopes it returns to that level. "No one left this town before they saw Faro Blanco," she said.
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Copyright (c) 2011, Florida Keys Keynoter, Marathon
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