The view of Sunseeker Resort got a lot clearer Thursday. Allegiant Travel Company submitted plans for three, 90-foot tall buildings perched on a narrow strip of land between U.S. 41 and Charlotte Harbor.
There’s no giant pool in this phase, but a public harborwalk is included.
“It’s gorgeous. It really is,” said Charlotte County Zoning Official Shaun Cullinan, adding that he had not had a chance to review the application yet.
The county has three weeks to review the huge application for 783 hotel rooms, 63,171 square feet of restaurants and bars, a 36,300-square-foot convention center, and 37,744 square feet for retail sales, spas, salons and fitness centers.
During this time, Sunseeker will request construction permits for some 2,000 pilings upon which the buildings and the harborwalk will rest.
Construction should start in March or April, and be complete in 18 to 24 months, said Hilarie Grey, spokesperson for Allegiant Travel Company, which owns Sunseeker.
This application includes engineering plans for storm water management along with sewage and water systems.
The site plan states that the buildings will be 90 feet, which is allowed by the special zoning district created for Charlotte Harbor. They are actually taller than 90 feet, because the first floor starts above open air for parking and for flooding. The resort is located in a high flood zone and buildings cannot sit at ground level.
In this district, the developer can exceed the 35-foot height limitation, if they allow public access to the water front. Sunseeker will build a half-mile harbor walkway, and has granted the public access. Along that waterway will be restaurants, bars and shopping also with public access.
This is phase one of the project and for the small narrow section of the full 22 acres. A large, wider portion to the north will remain undeveloped for the time being. Sunseeker’s first plan was for nine towers with a possibility for more hotel space on a small piece of county-owned land on the other side of U.S. 41. Sunseeker has said it still plans to build the full project.
A giant, 1,000-foot pool presented in the initial plan is not included in this phase.
The full harborwalk is included in this phase. The walkway is designed to connect on both ends with county-owned waterfront walkways. This allows the public to walk for miles along the water starting in Punta Gorda, across the bridge, and along the waterfront in Port Charlotte.
Cullinan said the submitted site plan looks similar to a preliminary site plan submitted months ago for the first phase, which the county approved. The site plan for all nine buildings did not reach the approval phase. The county and Allegiant were still negotiating the legal easement allowing public access to the walkway. That easement is now signed.