Florida Keys Business
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Marriott boutique hotel slated to open next year

KEY LARGO -- A new hotel is set to open on the island of Key Largo next year.

A Marriott Autograph Collection resort will be built at the former Playa Cristal property at Mile Marker 97.5, bayside, said hotel chain spokeswoman Catherine Leitner.

A representative from the Shaner Group, which is expected to manage the hotel, did not return a phone call seeking comment. According to county records, Prime Hospitality Group purchased the property in 2012 for $7.3 million.

Marriott's Autograph chain is new and focuses on boutique hotels with uncommon details, according to the hotel's website. The collection includes anything from a 1920s redesign of a Kansas City boardroom to a San Diego hotel that sits on the sand.

The Key Largo property was once home to the 154-unit American Outdoors Campground, which was shut down after a development company acquired the 11-acre site for a proposed hotel-condominium called Playa Cristal.

The concept was geared toward investors looking to purchase their third or fourth home. The planned $50 million Cuban plantation-style resort was to have a restaurant, pool, beach and 25-slip boat dock. It was scheduled to open in 2007.

The development company, however, defaulted on more than $40 million in loans taken out to finance the project and the property went into foreclosure in April 2008.

The vacant property eventually was overcome with brush and debris and cordoned off by a chain-link fence. Crews have just begun to clear the property.

jgore@keysnews.com

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