Hi, everyone. It has been too long, I know. We have had such an incredibly busy season this year — I am sure it has been for all of you as well. Plus, I have not written for a while for a couple of reasons — one is that I have been WAITING and WAITING for some news to break…and today, one of the stories broke. The second reason is that we have lost three friends within the last couple of months and their loss kind of took the “wind out of my sails” for a time. I really have appreciated those of you out in “Greetings from Paradise” land who have emailed me or called me and asked what the heck was going on and why hadn’t I been writing and am I okay. Well, now you know and here I am. And I do have some VERY important news…but first, let me get to the latest goings on around town.
First of all, I have to mention Gulfshore Playhouse’s last production of the season which is playing through May 21. It is called “The Christians” and it is terrific. Alan Campbell, a Tony Award nominee for his performance with Glenn Close in “Sunset Boulevard” on Broadway plays the lead role of Pastor Paul in this play. The show is only 90 minutes long but as the review in Florida Weekly stated, “it packs a wallop.” For tickets, log on to www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org or call (866) 811-4111.
Some noteworthy happenings around town include the opening of True Food Kitchen at Waterside Shops. Bob and I were able to be two of the first folks to dine at this delightful place and we and our friends who accompanied us loved everything we ordered. And especially, for me, the Coconut Chia Flan…to die for. Also at Waterside, the store BCBG Max Azria has closed and I am waiting for the word as to what will replace it.
Did you know that John Travolta was in town earlier this year? He visited Barbatella on Third Street South and even sang with the pianist who was entertaining that night. Pretty cool. Also on Third Street South, artists renderings have finally surfaced for the boutique hotel & shops which will take the place of the now junky looking Third Street Plaza. No time frame as yet but I will keep you posted. Just up the street on 12th Avenue South will be a new “watering hole” called “The Bevy” which is looking pretty savvy as the builders finalize construction.
Mercato is going through some growing pains as the following shops/restaurants have closed: MASA (as of today), Protocol, Taps, the Wine Cellar and Vom Fass. This summer, it will be interesting to follow the changes there. You know I will since I am over there at Whole Foods at least twice a week. By the way, Whole Foods is doing some serious redecorating — moving the wine around, putting the coffee bar at the front of the store and redoing some of the aisles.
Okay, so here is my BIG news. I am sure many of you will receive this little tidbit in the mail, but in case you don’t, here we go…and SERIOUSLY — this is important for any and all of you who live close to Vanderbilt Beach or travel on Vanderbilt Beach Road:
In the mail today, I received a letter from Stock Development — Brian Stock, specifically, who is the CEO. Stock is announcing plans to build a “dynamic new residential community at Vanderbilt Beach on the northeast corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Gulfshore Drive.” The proposal is called “One Naples.” This is directly from the letter – “To execute the vision for One Naples, the existing buildings on the northeast corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road & Gulfshore Drive, most of which date back to the 1970’s and 1980’s, will be removed with the exception of Barefoot Pelican, DaRuMa, Vanderbilt Palms and Buzz’s Lighthouse Inn. In line with the scale of surrounding buildings, One Naples will include a 20-story condo tower, low-rise condominium units on Vanderbilt Beach Road/Gulfshore Drive and 5-story condominium units overlooking Vanderbilt Lagoon. The proposal will also feature a 75-slip marina on Vanderbilt Lagoon as well as commercial space for a new South Bay Realty real estate office, a new coffee shop & deli and potentially a new restaurant.” The VERY NEXT paragraph in the letter tries to justify how this will not affect traffic. Right. Isn’t it amazing that these folks wait until snowbirds are leaving or have left to announce their plans?! ALSO IMPORTANT FOR AREA RESIDENTS WHO ARE STILL IN TOWN — there will be an Open House on May 17 at the Ritz Carlton Ballroom between 5:30 and 7:30. The Stock Development web site for this project is www.onenaplesliving.com.
If anyone wants to see a copy of this letter….and/or ask my opinion about it….just reply to this “Greetings.” Since I have no idea how to scan stuff, I will have Bob scan it for me.
So, that’s it or now, folks. I always tell you that off season is THE most interesting time here in paradise. I will be back with you as more news happens.