BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — Local developers hope to soon bring a new hotel to Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street.
The first public hearing on the proposal took place Wednesday and residents packed the chambers to capacity. So much so, that many residents had to listen to the meeting from outside city hall before they had their chance to speak.
Right now, the property sitting on the southeast corner of Gulf Drive and Bridge Street is made up of dilapidated buildings. If the applicants get their way, the parcels will transform into a brand-new resort-style hotel. The proposal now calls for 106 hotel rooms, a 60-seat restaurant, retail space, and 99 on-site parking spaces.
Locals and visitors have mixed views on the plans. Some feel it is needed to help boost the local economy and beautify that part of Bridge Street. Others fear a project of that scale and density would hurt the historic character of the area and impact traffic, parking, and existing infrastructure in Bradenton Beach.
“What I would like them [city leaders] to do is look at it leniently, think about what they are doing, think about the decisions they are about to make because the long-term implications for this island are absolutely disgraceful,” said island homeowner Steve Parker.
“Redevelopment is never easy. Our plan and effort has always been to meet the criteria and requirements of the city so this project can be an asset to the community,” said an attorney representing the applicant Steven Thompson.
The proposal will need to go through two more public hearings before any final decisions are made. Residents plan to participate and continue weighing in as the process continues.