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New restaurants and retail shops headed to Fifth Avenue in Naples

The space that once housed Bellini and Paddy Murphy’s in downtown Naples is getting a facelift, and new restaurants and shops are on the way, but some in Naples aren’t so excited.

“I came here to pay respects to this building, part of the culture on Fifth Avenue,” said Rich Muller, a long-time Naples resident who brought his son to the demolition site.

The buildings are 50 years old and Muller says he and others may have had memories here that could be lost.

“How many lives have been touched by this building? How many families owned businesses? How many people actually walked inside and experience something?” he asked.

Bellini Italian Restaurant and Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub in the 400 block of Fifth Avenue South will be gone in a few days. Demolition crews have already leveled the land where Citrus Restaurant once stood.

Property manager Matthew Slaughter is looking ahead to what the future of Fifth Avenue could be. “We felt the time was right to build new at Fifth at this point and be part of Naples on Fifth Avenue for the long term.”

So far, the plan includes a 15,000-square-foot building with restaurant space and a second-floor prime with office space. The plans also include solar power.

“Some of the plans are to have a beautiful patio that is made of landscaping, and green improvements including solar if they’ll allow it,” Slaughter said.

John Leonard considers Naples his second home since he works across the street from the project. He’s excited about what it could become.

I think it’s a good thing. In my opinion, the buildings were outdated. We’ve got some brand-new buildings around here and I’m hoping that the construction here, the new construction, is going to be similar in style to these buildings,” said Leonard. 

Leonard and others who frequent Fifth Avenue could find out sooner rather than later what will go up. Developers hope to be finished with the project by August 2021.

But Muller is still sad to see his favorites go. “It’s exciting to see something new coming but at the same time, [a] very sad moment realizing we’re losing history.”

Slaughter said that Bellini and Paddy Murphy’s could reopen once construction is finished.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Drew Hill
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