Sizzling Summer

I have mentioned several times in these Paradise Posts how exciting it is to be in Naples during the summer. Well, news is breaking daily it seems, and following are some happenings that just might get your attention.

   The Lutgert Companies just purchased the remaining property at Mercato for $13.5 million. The land is located in the vacant area just north of Whole Foods and continuing east along the border of Pelican Marsh. A new residential development is being planned for the area.

Whole Foods Market - Naples

   Also at Mercato, a new paper shop and online retailer called Paper Source will open soon. The store will offer a unique selection of “fine and artisanal papers,” invitations and announcements, personalized and distinctive gifts, giftwrap, greeting cards and custom stamps. Paper Source will be located between Sur La Table and Jos. A. Bank. A sunglass shop, Shades by Spectacles, has already opened. Rebel, a men’s clothing store, will be opening in late fall of this year. Cavo, a New York-based Mediterranean tapas bar (associated with the owner of BURN by Rocky Patel) will also be opening in late fall of this year. Finally at Mercato, Tommy Bahama will be opening a 3,282-square-foot store by the end of this year. I love shopping in the Tommy stores on Third Street South and now we will have one in North Naples! The new store will be located close to Charming Charlie and across from the Second Cup. With all of this fabulous new activity coming to Mercato, I certainly hope, hope, hope that someone does something monumental to find more parking.

Photo: Waterside Shops

   More news around town is that the new second location of Inca’s Kitchen, located in the Pavilion Shopping Center, will open in September. Continental, the new D’Amico & Parnters steak house, which is taking the place of Handsome Harry’s on Third Street South, will be ready to open in November. The Sun Trust Bank Building at Waterside Shops was purchased for $17.5 million and improvements are planned there. The original Rooms to Go store on U.S. 41 will be replaced by a La-Z-Boy furniture store. The Bascom-Palmer Eye Center on U.S. 41 at Park Shore is finally rising from the ground. Naples Square in Old Naples got under way with groundbreaking ceremonies that were open to the public with food, beverages and music. The first condos in this much-anticipated complex are due to be completed in 2015. A Hyatt hotel is planned for the space where Joe’s Crab Shack used to be just across the bay from Bayfront. And just north of Bayfront, work has begun at the site for Mangrove Bay, new single-family Florida-style homes with water access.

   The biggest breaking news concerns the distressed Third Street Plaza. Plans are in the works for tearing the entire plaza down. The garage attached to the plaza will remain. The demolition of the plaza was originally scheduled for 2014, but now will be planned for after the 2014-2015 Naples high season, in thoughtful concern for the businesses and restaurants on Third Street South. No one knows yet (and believe me, I have contacted everyone in the know) what is planned for this prime piece of property, but rumors abound—a boutique hotel? A brand-new shopping area? Stay tuned for more on this hot topic.

   Finally—and I have been waiting for this news for a LONG time—the only property left to be built in Pelican Bay in Waterpark Place (between the St. Laurent and St. Raphael)—is back in the news. Plans for Cap d’Antibes and Cote d’Azur have been moved to the front burner, and the builder, Gulf Bay Group, will be moving forward to seek county approval. The new design will provide 88 units per building—176 units total plus manager apartments. It has been six years since Gulf Bay and the Pelican Bay Foundation settled their disagreements, and it will be thrilling to see those lots developed as they have been vacant so long.

   So you see, summer really has been sizzling in paradise.


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