The Gasparilla Inn is an existing historic resort in the unincorporated community of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island in Lee County, FL. The Gasparilla Inn was initially established during a time in Florida’s history when railroad developers built hotels near the rail station to encourage settlement of new communities and create a tourist destination. The Main Inn Building of the Gasparilla Inn Resort is an example of this practice. Today, the Gasparilla Inn is the largest wood frame hotel still in operation in Florida. The property consists of over 137 acres stretching from the Gulf of Mexico on the West to the Bay on the East and is within the Gasparilla Inn Historical Resort Area (GIHRA), established by the State Legislature, and the Lee County Boca Grande Historic District.
All of the disciplines at Morris-Depew Associates have provided services to the Inn from the early stages of due diligence to the final stages of construction and project close out for the recently completed Beach Club Expansion and Renovation. The firm has also supported numerous new construction and renovations projects for the various cottages and other supporting uses associated with the Inn over the years.
Beach Club Expansion
Led by Tina M. Ekblad, President and Director of Planning and Ryan M. Shute, Partner and Director of Operations, Morris-Depew was tasked with designing and permitting a unique, one-of-a-kind Beach Club Expansion and Renovation on approximately 10 acres of Gulf front property on historic Boca Grande Island. What makes this project so unique and challenging is the vast range of services and accommodations it provides.
The new construction associated with the Beach Club features nine luxury beach cottages and resort-style accommodations in the form of spa and fitness, tennis, and island recreation. Incorporating these elements into an effective yet appealing site design to fit the aesthetic of the historic island, while meeting the requirements of local and state regulations was the result of professional services provided by Morris-Depew Associates. Additionally, all the elements of new construction had to demonstrate compliance with the Boca Grande Historic Resort District and Lee County Boca Grande Historic Resort District. The new cottages and redesigned Beach Club elements are permitted by specific State regulations for this area of the Island as well as local zoning requirements. Morris-Depew’s planning and engineering team assisted in obtaining several permits for development including: Lee County Special Certificate of Appropriateness, Lee County Historic Relief, Lee County Development Order, South Florida Water Management District Environmental Resource Permit, Gasparilla Island Water Association Utility Permit, Florida Department of Environmental Coastal Construction Control Line Permit, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Wastewater Collection Permit, and Department of Health Water Main Extension Permit.
In addition to site permitting, Morris-Depew coordinated the permitting and construction services for the lighting and landscape layout, and designed a dual source irrigation system to utilize reclaim water from the Gasparilla Island Water Association (which currently stores its treated water on the Inn’s golf course), and potable water when other sources are not available.
As with any beachside development in Florida, wildlife lighting is an important piece of the design. MDA along with Coastal Engineers Humiston and Moore, successfully permitted the use of landscape, building, and site lighting for the development. Morris-Depew along with GB Collins Pool engineers also successfully represented the Inn at a Florida Department of Health Pool Variance Board hearing to support the pools designed for the new beach club.