MARATHON -- Developers of the proposed 95-unit Courtyard by Marriott now have extra wiggle room for pulling permits.
At the Oct. 9 Marathon City Council meeting, representatives from Marathon Hospitality LLC and Marriott requested flexibility in the city's land development timeline, which required all building permits be obtained by Feb. 1, 2013.
A spokesperson for Marriott requested an amendment to its development agreement to change "obtained" to "applied for," explaining that financial issues and complete building plan reviews may come very close to the Feb. 1 cutoff. In a unanimous vote, the council agreed to change the language of the amendment, requiring all building permits be applied for by Feb. 1, rather than obtained.
Failure to meet that deadline could result in financial penalties or a loss of hotel room allocations -- known as transient residential units or TRUs -- at the 6,000-square-foot hotel, planned for mile marker 48, gulfside, just south of The Turtle Hospital.
Marathon Hospitality LLC, which currently holds 46 TRUs, is in the process of transferring 30 from another location it purchased. An additional 19 must be transferred to the property to bring the total to 95 units.
The property is to include retail and restaurant footage, an onsite swimming pool and a marina with 34 slips.
The council members voiced their support for a Marriott, saying it will bring increased revenue and additional employment opportunities to the city.
The city has reviewed partial submissions of Marriott's building plans to help keep the developers on track and ensure the final building plans meet all requirements when submitted for final review.
According to City Manager Roger Hernstadt, Marriott "has done enough legwork with the city," and he expects construction to begin on time. Delays are "typically more finance- than process-related," he said, when asked if the city felt things were progressing according to schedule.
Members from the neighboring condominium association objected to the project based on its proposed height and a rumor that a roof-top entertainment area was planned. Portions of the original project proposal exceeded the city's maximum height restriction of 37 feet; however, the city's planning director may allow certain exceptions, including access to mechanical equipment on the roof.
In contrast to the original project proposal, the one now before the city shows a smaller portion of the building above 37 feet. The 1,100 square feet in excess of the height restriction are comprised of a stair well and elevator shaft.
The existing development agreement states that the roof-top deck cannot be used as an entertainment area of any kind. The roof will be a "non-habitable space which exclusively provides access to mechanical equipment," according to the development agreement.
Barring any unexpected delays, construction will begin on June 1, 2013. Hernstadt said he expects construction to move along at a swift pace.
"They can't make money with empty rooms," he said.