Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Vacation Club Wants Tower, Hotel Density With Timeshare

The potential new owners of the Marco Radisson Suites Resort want Marco Island city officials to allow them to build a 200-foot-tall tower and allow timeshare units to be treated to the same density requirements as hotel rooms.

Representatives of Marriott Vacation Club International of Orlando (MVCI), which signed a contract to purchase the Marco Radisson eight days ago, hope to close the purchase sometime in July, according to David E. Holton, senior vice president of Resort Development.

Holton, along with MVCI director of project planning Mike Elliott and Marco attorney Craig Woodward, who represents MVCI in its purchase contract, announced its preliminary redevelopment plans to the Marco Island City Council on Monday during the council's review of proposed land use development amendments.

Holton said it's normal for the firm to begin development planning prior to closing on a property.

Holton and Woodward asked the city to fast-track the zoning changes they'll need to achieve the timeshare development they seek for the property.

They may have some trouble getting the 200-foot height they want for a new tower of timeshare rooms that would be built onto a remodeled development by MVCI.

But they might not have nearly as much trouble getting the city to increase density limits for timeshare units as compared to hotel room units.

Currently city zoning in the Residential Tourist district along South Collier Boulevard, where the majority of the city's resort hotels and vacation resorts operate, allows for 120 condominium units in a 100-foot tall building, with a conditional use permit available for a maximum height of 125 feet.

MVCI wants the city to allow 26 timeshare units per acre above the 16 units per acre allowed now for multi-family units in the RT district. The 26 units per acre allowance currently applies to hotel room units.

Holton and Woodward explained their contention that a timeshare unit, more or less, is a hotel room, occupied by owners for a week or more at a time, but also available for daily rentals when owners aren't in occupancy.

Elliott explained plans for the property, which include a new swimming pool, a fully remodeled parking area, the new timeshare tower, new balconies, remodeled outer walls, and more, to create a whole new visual appeal to a facility that has been considered by some to have become an eyesore.

Marco Island Community Development Director Vince Cautero said the city would have to amend its comprehensive land use plan because timeshares in the plan limit them to 16 timeshare units per acre.

A comp plan amendment would take months to pass through state channels, and MVCI's representatives want a faster track. Marco Council Vice Chairman Glenn Tucker suggested redefining timeshares in city zoning law.

"I have a little trouble with them coming in for a 200-foot height, but we have the opportunity before us to have a real world-class structure go up on the beach, rather than the current eyesore," Tucker said.

The council voted 7-0 to send the land-use amendments back to the city Planning Board for further review, taking into considerations MVCI's requests. The council would reconsider the land-use amendments for timeshares at its June 19 meeting.

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