A Naples design panel gave final approval Wednesday to a real estate developer’s plan for a Olde Naples downtown promenade of waterfront dining on Naples Bay.
The six-member design review board voted unanimously in favor of the project from Naples Bay Center LLC for five restaurants with rooftop and outdoor dining overlooking the bay near the intersection of Riverpoint Drive and the Fifth Avenue South bridge.
Harry Zea, the project’s developer, said construction should start this summer and that he hopes to have The Prom on Fifth open by the end of tourist season in 2018.
With approximately 450 seats of rooftop and outdoor dining, 10 dock spaces open to boaters and a boardwalk wrapping around the property, the project stands to become one of the largest public waterfront venues in the city.
“It had to be presented where it was an open atmosphere that incorporated the most fun aspect: the water,” Zea said about his vision for the promenade, which he calls a legacy project.
“It’s rewarding in the sense that I think when you have an idea that’s based upon good intentions — when you can make it actually work on the business side of things, it’s a perfect scenario.”
Zea said 16 restaurants are being considered for the five promenade spaces. He said there will be a variety of offerings.
“A seafood place, a steakhouse, a healthy-eating alternative — we want to make it a place where you go three to four times per week and not always go to the same restaurant,” Zea said.
Zea said the restaurants will be open for lunch and dinner throughout the week, with a possibility for Sunday brunch. The restaurants will close at 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends, Zea said.
The 1.8-acre site, across Riverpoint Drive from Kelly’s Fish House, has sat vacant for years. The planned one-story building will include roughly 5,800 square feet of rooftop dining and two levels of underground parking. The 296 parking spaces will be open to the general public.
A sidewalk connects the site to Fifth Avenue to the west and Naples Bay Resort along with the Royal Harbor neighborhood to the east.
Design board members commended Zea and architects from Stofft Cooney Architects.
“It’s a wonderful project on many levels,” member Stephen Hruby said. “It’s going to create a destination off of Four Corners. It’s going to have a draw. It takes us across the bridge, which is sorely needed. It allows public access to the waterfront.”
Board chairman John Vorbach called the project a “unique idea.”
“For us being surrounded by water, there isn’t as much dining on water as you would expect,” he said. “I think it’s an exciting project.”
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