Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pillage of Paradise Postponed

Escambia County commissioners last night agreed to "wait two months before considering a change to the county's hotel ordinance that would allow a longer length of stay in hotel/condo rooms." Pensacola News Journal's Jamie Page has the details.

That might be just enough time for the Santa Rosa Island Authority to expeditiously launch the "thorough study" of the implications of violating the county Land Use Plan that the News Journal has called for. Unintended consequences
are so much more likely when you haven't looked at any consequences.

Land use and zoning regulations have guided Pensacola Beach house, hotel, and condo development for decades. They shouldn't be impulsively eviscerated by three county politicians on the word of one self-interested developer who claims it would "create a financing mechanism to build better quality hotels... ."

Everybody knows "better quality" hotels is not what this is about. Undermining the legally-mandated residential and density caps on Pensacola Beach is what's really going on.


Anonymous said...

Before people start jumping off the pier to escape the terrible developers on Pensacola Beach why don't they take the time to fully understand what a condo-hotel is? If you want to run from developers run from the ones who come in and plow down to make room for multiple towers and then leave the county for other opportunities. The condo-hotel developer is here for the long run. Over 20 years now doing what needed to be done to turn the honky-tonk strip of beach into a nicer place for people to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach. Do you really think this developer would invest in his next building that calls for a substantial ballroom for meetings and conferences if he was planning to build condos that would never be available to house delegates because the units were always being used by an owner? Be serious. Millions of dollars are being pumped into these facilities so that his company will have product to continue to manage long after the last unit is sold. 2/3 of the current Hilton Tower units are 675 sq. ft with a small kitchen about the size of a wet bar. Certainly not large enough to accommodate full-time usage if an owner wanted to move in. Just try and get conventional financing right now to build a traditional hotel. It is not available. Maybe he should just build a few biker bars on his land and call it a day. He'd probably make more money. Right now he is employing hundreds of people, and paying a sizable payroll to people who then turn around and spend it in the local economy, even with some of the shop owners and restaurant operators on the beach who complain that this concept will deter visitors. This is the only county in the state that limits the length of stay. You want some facts, check out Miami where almost every new hotel during the past 5 years have been built in this manner as a condo-hotel. The operators there will tell you that the average stay of guests in those hotels are 2-4 nights and the owners know better than to displace customers during the peak seasons because that is when the money is to be made that will help offset their costs of ownership.

Get your facts straight before you start your tirade...

Linda L. said...

Beach Blogger, gonna let the foregoing comment go unanswered?

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