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Hotel at Gulfport Marina?

What do you think about adding a hotel at the Gulfport Marina?

Gulfport City Council Member Christine Brown came prepared at Tuesday night's workshop. Brown not only suggested "big ideas" like adding a hotel and lighthouse restaurant at the Gulfport Marina, she brought props to help everyone visualize the plans.

“I don’t want to change the character of our city, but we need this if we’re going to enhance the marina,” Brown said as she placed empty boxes in order. 

Brown placed small boxes that represented the marina, BCYC, Gulfport Yacht Club and Coast Guard Building and then added a much larger box right in between the BCYC and Gulfport Yacht Club. That box represented a hotel.

"These people don’t have to move for us to fit a hotel there, it’s a boutique hotel," she said. Brown envisions a two-story "Key West"-style hotel with about 20 rooms or fewer. 

Brown joined fellow city leaders Tuesday night for a discussion about the Marina's Master Plan. Councilors are already showing support for a new ship store, boat lifts, and live-aboard improvements, which are included in next year's budget. Now, Harbormaster Denis Fran and Community Development Officer Fred Metcalf want council's recommendations for Phase II and Phase III of the Marina Master Plan. 

Brown also suggested building a water tower on Osgood Point and possibly building a Sailing Center that could be used by local yacht clubs. Brown emphasized that these plans should include a way to connect the waterfront to the marina.

"We have to get the people from one side to the other, the whole waterfront has to be an experience," she said.

Councilors Fridovich and Vice Mayor Liedtke agreed with some of Brown's ideas, such as the hotel. 

Vice Mayor Dan Liedtke added that if a hotel went up six stories, you could see the Gulf of Mexico. 

Mayor Sam Henderson expressed some caution about these "big ideas," saying, "one of the things they like about us the most is that we’re not Clearwater. I think we really want to make sure that whatever we decide to put, we’re maintaining our character."

Rather than a water tower, Councilor Jennifer Salmon said she would prefer a lighthouse. Salmon also included Clam Bayou restoration as one of her top priorities for the marina area.

Mayor Henderson said he would love to see an open observation deck instead of a water tower at Osgood Point.

The two-hour session allowed councilors to share and discuss what's on their "wish lists." Fran told councilors that if something was a "good idea," they'll find a way to make it work. Fran and Metcalf wanted to hear ideas Tuesday night. Details can be worked out at future meetings and workshops, they said.

At the end of the discussion, all five leaders were given five dot stickers to place by what they want to see at the marina. Fran and Metcalf wrote down all of the suggestions on large sheets of paper and taped them to the walls.

Here are the results:

  • Hotel: 4 votes
  • Clam Bayou Habitat Restoration: 3 votes
  • Complete Phase I: 3 votes
  • Restaurant: 2 votes
  • Sailing Center: 2 votes
  • Tie into the Waterfront Redevelopment District: 2 votes
  • Observation Deck: 2 votes

Ideas with one vote:

  • Linear Park
  • Pedestrian/Bike Trail
  • Water Fountain with Dog Bowl
  • Golf Carts
  • Traffic Calming on 31st

What do you think?

What do you think about adding a hotel at the Gulfport Marina? How about building a two-story observation deck at Osgood Point? What about adding a Sailing Center for multiple yacht clubs to use?

Feel free to attend the workshop or contact councilors with your feedback about the future of the marina.

Contact Councilors:

  • Mayor Sam Henderson: shenderson@mygulfport.us
  • Ward 1 Dan Liedtke: dliedtke@mygulfport.us
  • Ward 2 Christine Brown: cbrown@mygulfport.us
  • Ward 3 Jennifer Salmon: jsalmon@mygulfport.us
  • Ward 4 Michael Fridovich: mfridovich@mygulfport.us

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mtober June 08, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Perhaps the Patch could do some due diligence and ask Councilwoman Brown what she had in mind when she presented the idea.
BKL June 11, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Exactly.
Brian Derr June 13, 2013 at 12:56 PM
What is the reason some of you think we need a hotel and restaurant at the marina? I understand and agree that upgrading the marina to enable people to live aboard or stay aboard makes sense, but we have under performing event space in the Casino and need to upgrade the kitchen facilities, we have empty restaurant buildings on Beach Blvd, and we have small "botique hotels" already. If adding businesses automatically attracts visitors, why do we have empty space in town? It seems to me that adding competing businesses in the marina district could have three negative consequences: 1) keep visitors from going into town, 2) change the quiet character of the Clam Bayou nature preserve, and 3) make it more difficult to fill the empty business locations that already exist in town. I support modest upgrades to the marina, but none of the other development at this time. I do not see a credible argument that developing the marina district will bring more people when we have empty businesses in town. Furthermore, I bought in the marina district in part because of height restrictions and the expectation that the Council would protect the quiet nature of the marina district and nature preserve.
BKL June 14, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Thank you Brian! Some say build it and they will come.., just as you said and I, it is already built and sitting empty or half empty!! Once those have had attention, help and have been filled, then see what lies ahead. Building for the sake of building on hope.. is just a repeat of the same song and dance that has and is hurting all of Pinellas and beyond. And the reasons you and all the rest of us bought here to live, well, really why change what brings people here? The fact is, there are so many businesses of things to buy, it just cannot all be absorbed by the population. Look at cars. We already have cars. Why on earth are dealers populating the areas, tearing down existing business that maybe they could of used a hand instead? Look at all the resale shops, I mean there are a lot! Look at all the foreclosed homes, abandoned homes, the homes bought up for by investors. Building more of anything is redundant. Taking care of and helping what we have is important.
Lori East June 19, 2013 at 11:01 PM
I'm not pleased at all to hear of the possible removal of the USCG building/ There is a lot of history and good done inside that building, and natural beauty around it. It's disgraceful our City is rejecting Homeland Security, our retired & current Coast Guardsmen! Why do we need a hotel anyway? We have a hotel downtown, that can be reached by boat and land. Promote downtown businesses-leave the UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ALONE. Show a little respect & gratitude for their service!

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