Joseph Cranney - Naples Daily News USA TODAY NETWORK - FLORIDA
A landmark Naples fishery is expected to stay open while a real estate developer manages delays to his plans for a renovation at the property.
Kelly’s Fish House, the longest running Naples restaurant, had been preparing to close in summer 2017 while the property was eyed for a commercial project that included rental condos, underground parking and waterfront dining on Naples Bay.
But developer Harry Zea’s project was held up by the city’s lengthy review of his plans.
A boat rides past Kelly’ s Fish House on April 10. A new waterfront promenade will go on the property with outdoor dining, boat rentals, and underground parking.
Now, pending a permit, construction won’t begin any sooner than July, Zea said.
“But Kelly’s will be open,” Zea said. “I want people to come out and support him.”
Reached by phone, Kelly Ellis, the fish house owner, said he expected to stay open but declined to discuss the plans.
His mother, Kelly McGill, took over the waterside restaurant in 1971. That’s when the Fish House Dining Room, launched in 1953 by Pat Combs, was renamed Kelly’s Fish House.
On the patch of land near the Gordon River Bridge, Zea’s development is set to replace Kelly’s with another local seafood restaurant — Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, a Sanibel-based chain.
But after the Naples planning board voted Wednesday to recommend that the Naples City Council reject a permit for Zea’s project, other plans have changed.
Instead of underground parking, he’ll include 120 spaces of surface parking. And the 12 livable units on the second and third floors of his planned three-story building won’t be rental condos. Instead, they’ll be full-time units.
Doc Ford’s is still planned for the ground floor as the project’s anchor tenant.
If construction begins this summer, the project could be open by summer 2019, Zea said.
Another of Zea ’s projects, The Promenade on Fifth, is also scheduled for open in 2019.
That project includes five restaurants with waterfront dining and public boardwalks.
Zea assured he’ll build his projects.
“It’s going to happen,” he said. “We wouldn’t be going through the permitting process if we weren’t going to do it."