MARCO ISLAND, Fla - A couple hundred people turned out to learn more about a $150 million redevelopment project proposed at the Marco Island Marriott. The high end hotel in Collier County is planning some big changes.
Rick Medwedeff, the General Manager, says in order to stay competitive with other hotels, they have to make improvements, but neighbors say their biggest concern isn't with the hotel, but plans to change the existing parking lot.
A rooftop pool and restaurant, 83 new rooms, 400 parking spots and better meeting space are some of the improvement proposed.
"You can't stop progress and I think this is a good thing for Marco Island," says Tim McDowell, a snowbird who splits time between Canada and Marco Island.
McDowell was one of the hundreds of people who turned out Monday night for a town hall meeting. Some were there to learn more about the plans. "I want to know where this addition is going to be and how close it's going to be to me," says Dennis Tetu, a Marco Island home owner and Minnesota resident.
The big concern shared by those who live near the parking lot, is the addition of a two level parking structure. "It would be more noise, more traffic, more interruptions," says Marcia Argyris. She and her husband live just 30 feet away from the parking lot.
Hotel leaders say the changes would bump them to JW Marriot status, which allows them to compete with other high end hotels. "We lose a lot of business currently because of those deficiencies," says Medwedeff. He says the new rooms would also pump an extra half a million dollars into the community through tourist taxes.
If all goes according to plan, this will head to the City Council next spring. Construction would begin May 2015 and wrap up December of 2016.