BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — Local developers hope to build a new hotel along multiple parcels in Bradenton Beach amounting to about 1.37 acres.
The property, according to site plans, would sit at the corner of Gulf Drive and Bridge Street.
The plans show the nearly 207,000 square foot, four story structure would have 103 rooms, a rooftop pool and bar and 126 parking spaces, including four spots for golf carts.
The property owners listed on the application submitted to the city are Shawn Kaleta, a well-known developer, and Jacob Spooner, a city commissioner in Bradenton Beach.
Some residents think the new development will help boost the local economy and help bring progress to the historic part of the city, while others fear it will tarnish the quaint, small-town island feel.
“It is great, but I don’t think this is the spot for it. Put it someplace else. This is a small, little community. It is crowded enough,” part-time resident Elizabeth Levine said. “The roads are impossible to pass, there is no place to park. Keep it small, keep it community, don’t make it bigger than that. You don’t need a hotel with a rooftop pool, you have the gulf right in front of you.”
Bradenton resident Hunter Jensen started a petition opposing the hotel, and so far it has around 500 signatures. Jensen told 8 On Your Side he feels the project isn’t the right fit for Bridge Street.
“With the size of this hotel, it is going to create a bit of a traffic concern. I know for a lot of residents here, as we go and see this roundabout, it is already backed up, and it backs up pretty far into Bradenton come season,” Jensen said. “So with 103 rooms, people are going to occupy those rooms during season at all times. People are going to be crossing that street, and it is just gonna make traffic even worse and our infrastructure cannot support it.”
8 On Your Side contacted the architecture firm who submitted the application on the owners’ behalf. A representative explained there will be public hearings where residents can voice their concerns before the project moves forward. We were told there will also be a traffic study conducted as part of the process.
City leaders say rezoning will not be required for this project, but “it will be subject to the Major Development review process which will require public hearings before the Planning & Zoning Board and the City Commission once the applications and plans have been determined to be sufficient for review.”
With the proposal still in its very early stages, no date has been set for a review.