|By Ryan McCarthy, Florida Keys Keynoter,
MarathonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 17, 2011--The Spottswood Cos. isn't the only developer aiming to fly the flag of a nationally recognized hotel chain in the Middle Keys.
Crystal Bay Resort owner Marvin Rappaport closed the 26-unit property on the bayside of U.S. 1 near mile marker 50 on Monday in the hopes of turning it into a 100-room Marriot Residence Inn.
Rappaport offered few details Friday -- he declined to discuss possible amenities, why the hotel closed now or any timetable for reconstruction.
"We signed a franchise agreement for a Marriot Residence Inn," is all he said.
Rappaport purchased the property in December 2006. He said Crystal Bay is owned through his Miami-based Housing Trust Group and is the company's lone Keys property.
City Planning Director George Garrett said he's met with Crystal Bay representatives at least once to discuss site plans, but that one has not been provided.
Garrett said Crystal Bay's largest problem will be acquiring available transient-unit rights to build 100 rooms.
The property's development agreement allows for it to redevelop 27 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath condominiums, plus commercial space and 27 dock slips.
"There are a number of undeveloped transient units in the city, but I don't see anybody giving those up," Garrett said.
Garrett said there are about 450 transient-unit rights available citywide. Many are spoken for, including 199 for a proposed Knights Key development, 105 at Spottswood's Faro Blanco project, 80 at the former Ramada Inn owned by Peebles Corp. and 46 at the Old Town site where city Finance Director Peter Rosasco proposed a Hampton Inn. He's since sold the property.
Garrett said Crystal Bay definitely won't be getting any transient units from the city.
"There are none. We cannot issue them and so if you don't have them or they're not available for sale, you're" out of luck, Garrett said.
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