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Community backlash surfaces with proposed St. Pete Beach hotels

Veronica Brezina



The Sirata Beach Resort. Facebook image.

Over a hundred St. Pete Beach residents filled the City Hall chamber Nov. 13, delivering testimony against a massive redevelopment along the shoreline that will bring two new hotels to the already congested Gulf Boulevard corridor. 

Since acquiring the 13-acre Sirata Beach Resort property in a record-breaking $207 million deal last year from Crescent Real Estate, Kentucky-based hotel management company Columbia Sussex has been drafting plans for redeveloping the pool and restaurant of the existing hotel at 5390 Gulf Blvd., which opened in the 1960s. 

In partnering with engineering group Kimley-Horn, the team presented new plans to the St. Pete Beach Planning Board, showing the addition of a 290-key JW Marriott on the northside of the resort and a 130-key Hampton Inn select-service hotel at the south end. 

The developer also plans to demolish a six-story building adjacent to the Sirata, and therefore remove a total of 156 units.

The site plan of the changes to the existing Sirata Beach Resort and two new proposed hotels. Image: Kimley-Horn.

Both new hotels would have rooftop amenities. The applicant is seeking a beverage permit for the 10-story JW Marriot; however, an attorney with Sterns Weaver and Miller Tampa firm insisted that the pool and amenity deck on the fourth floor would not be a “rooftop bar.” 

She explained the owners are seeking a conditional use permit to serve alcohol solely for hosting events such as weddings and conventions. 

Regarding a buildup of traffic on the densely packed narrow roadway, the development team said the development would eliminate offsite queuing, and the first three levels of the JW Marriott would be a parking garage. A second garage would be located behind the Hampton Inn. 

A rendering of the proposed JW Marriott in St. Pete Beach.

Prior to the meeting, city staff received nearly 300 emails concerning impacts the stormwater system and roadway, potentially causing more pedestrian-related safety issues with a wave of tourists not utilizing the crosswalks properly. 

“Residents don’t want to see an increase of density,” one opponent said during the public speaking portion of the meeting. “We understand the property is losing its value and we want redevelopment, but not at the cost of our character.” 

The group noted there would be beach access points from the hotel property. Kimley-Horn would also import 10,840 square feet of sand to create larger dunes on the shore for storm protection. 

The majority of the planning board members said the request to renovate the resort, and the addition of new hotels, aligns with the city’s comprehensive plan.

With the approval of the board, the amended comprehensive plan will go before the St. Pete Beach City Council Dec. 5 for final approval. 

If the council rejects the plans for the two new hotels, the renovation of the Sirata Beach Resort could still move forward, according to the city’s planning department. 


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  1. Avatar

    Ms. Dawn

    November 21, 2023at9:37 am

    Clearwater Beach used to be nice like St Pete Beach is now. Developers ruined it. Don’t let that happen here. People can go to Clearwater if they want overdevelopment. We want to keep our nature and charm.

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    November 20, 2023at8:07 pm

    I wonder when in history the public gets to dedicate what can be built on a property they don’t own. I bet all the people above live no where near the Sirata and aren’t directly affected. Auto/pedestrian accidents and deaths happen everywhere in the world so lets ban autos, all transportation or ban pedestrians from crossing the street. We can build concrete walk overs but then you people will be against that too. Some of these properties are falling apart and to continue to be a world class destination the area needs to offer world class accommodations. It’s probably the reason all the “Stop Development protesters” moved here because St. Pete Beach continues to be a top 10 beach. It’s a reason why my parents moved here but I think they weclomed change. I know they never put their nose in other people’s business. If they are allowed to build based on the development rules in St. Pete Beach and the city denies them I hope they sue and all you pay more taxes. If you don’t like what is happening either buy the Sirata or move to Canada.

  3. Avatar


    November 18, 2023at6:50 pm

    Amazing is the density they want to put into St Pete Beach(max it out, who cares $$$$), already safety issues with auto/pedestrian accidents and deaths. Sirata has already shown its failure to protect the sea turtle hatchlings because of their lightning. Just another boozy beach venture? I wonder what the cost of a JW room would be, upwards of $1000 a night?

  4. Avatar


    November 17, 2023at9:12 am

    Their goes the neighborhood. They will distroy a icon in StPetes.

  5. Avatar

    Kathy Briggs

    November 17, 2023at8:19 am

    gulf Blvd can not handle the additional traffic that would bring. It is already congested all the time. Especially when there is road work. We don’t want to be like Clearwater

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