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A Naples design panel gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a real estate developer’s plans to overhaul the waterfront site of a popular downtown fishery.
But the design review board asked developer Harry Zea to prepare more detailed plans for accommodating the area’s commercial fishermen at the site of Kelly’s Fish House on Naples Bay.
This file photo shows the exterior of Kelly’s Fish House Dining Room. At 1302 Fifth Ave. S., just south of more
Kelly’s, the 60-year Naples landmark near the Gordon River bridge that will close this summer, has long been one of the few places where fishermen can unload, pack and ship their day’s catch to local markets.
John Vorbach, the design board chairman, said Zea’s conversion of the property into a restaurant and rental condo building needs to consider those fishermen. Zea’s preliminary plans don’t leave enough space behind the three-story building, Vorbach said.
“I’d be concerned about how I’m going to pull my pickup next to my boat,” Vorbach said during Wednesday’s two-hour hearing. “I just don’t see any access.”
Zea said he wants to maintain the character of Kelly’s site and accommodate the fishermen. His plans for a two-story underground parking garage will include an elevator for fishermen to transport their catch, he said.
Zea said he wanted Kelly’s to stay as the project’s chief tenant but that the owner, Kelly Ellis, is retiring. Zea expects Kelly’s to close by the end of June.
A building rendering shows the plan for a three-story complex at the site of Kelly's Fish House. The oldmore
In Kelly’s place, Zea is bringing in Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, a Sanibel-based chain.
The three-member design board unanimously approved the plans.
“I do commend this developer for taking on a stretch of Fifth Avenue … and linking it across Four Corners,” member Stephen Hruby said.
Zea, who is partnering on the project with Naples anesthesiologist Dr. Myles Alpert, is planning 12,000 square feet of ground-floor restaurant space and 48 rental units on the second and third floors.
Stays in the rental units must be at least 30 days during tourist season, Zea said, and at least a week during the offseason.
Zea is planning on fulfilling parking requirements with 140 underground spaces, he said.
Pending final approval by the Naples City Council, Zea hopes to have the project open in September 2018.
The project would neighbor The Promenade on Fifth, Zea’s other venture that includes five restaurants — creating one of the area’s largest waterfront dining locations.