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South Seas unveils redevelopment plans for island resort

South Seas has unveiled a redevelopment plan that maintains the historic character and coastal charm that defines Captiva Island while modernizing the property to enhance the guest experience.

Most notably, South Seas’ zoning application – a requirement as the resort rebuilds following destruction caused by Hurricane Ian – notes structures would be rebuilt up to 45 feet above the minimum permittable habitable floor, mirroring the existing outlying suburban height restriction, and include up to three stories over parking or commercial space. The resort’s commitment to environmental sustainability and conservation will be reflected in building design, the golf course design, restoration of the Red Fish Pass revetment, reconstruction of the fishing pier and many other initiatives. The plan also maintains all existing preservation space and wetlands across the 330-acre resort.

“Our goal is to preserve and celebrate the history of South Seas while adding amenities, building more current hotels, luxury residential, and improving overall aesthetics,” said Greg Spencer, president of the South Seas Ownership Group. “It’s a thoughtful, fresh approach that will restore a sense of coastal grandeur and ultimately make South Seas the No. 1 family resort destination in the United States.”

Spencer presented redevelopment plans to owners on Dec. 14 prior to submitting a zoning application to Lee County. New structures will be built to withstand 185 m.p.h. winds with ample flood protection.

Under the proposal, South Seas will maintain its existing approval to develop up to 272 residential units by building several new waterfront condominiums. The proposal includes the construction of two hotels: the north hotel would consist of 185 to 225 hotel keys and replace the former Harborside Hotel which was damaged beyond repair due to Hurricane Ian; the south hotel would include 180 to 210 hotel keys and replace the former conference center, also damaged by the hurricane.

The South Seas redevelopment plan breaks down enhancements into two geographic areas of the resort:

South End

  • New Captiva Landing amenity with water slide, lazy river, cove pool, Flippers restaurant, arcade and Camptiva kids’ club
  • Captiva Landing marina with water sports programming and potential for interpretive trail
  • Centralized resort services building
  • Beachfront condominium
  • Hotel with event space
  • Eco-friendly, all-electric golf cart rental space
  • New concept for Shops at South Seas with mix of national retailers and local businesses

North end of resort

  • Hotel
  • Beachfront condominium
  • Bayfront condominium
  • Newly envisioned short golf course, The Clutch
  • South Seas Spa & Fitness Center
  • Beachfront restaurant, The Beach House
  • Re-engineered stormwater and drainage system

Some redevelopment initiatives were already in the planning phase prior to Hurricane Ian. Under its new leadership, the total investment in resort improvements will reach the high nine figures.

“We desire to be the No. 1 family resort not just in Florida, but throughout the nation,” Spencer said. “Some of these proposed upgrades were years overdue, but our vision for South Seas is to recapture our place as the favorite vacation destination of families for generations to come.”

As rebuilding continues, South Seas has taken a phased-reopening approach with a limited number of vacation rentals now available. The slide pool has reopened, and the north pool should open by the end of December. Additional resort amenities are coming online soon. Guests can also enjoy the community’s 2.5 miles of pristine, white-sand beaches best known for their spectacular sunsets, world-renowned shelling and incredible natural wildlife.

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