- Allegiant Travel Company announced that it will resume construction this month on its Sunseeker Resort in Charlotte County, Florida, after it had been halted due to the pandemic and its negative effects on the travel and hospitality industry.
- John Redmond, president of Allegiant, said during a press conference last week that Allegiant plans to finish construction within 18 months, and that the waterfront resort north of Fort Myers is expected to open by early 2023.
- During an investor call on Thursday, Redmond said that when complete, the development on the Peace River will be unlike any other in the state because it will be built 16 feet above the mean high-tide line, making it better prepared to avoid damage from hurricanes.
As the coronavirus pandemic enters a new, uncertain phase with the delta variant causing spikes in cases, the fate of the hospitality industry is still up in the air. Nevertheless, tourism in the Sunshine State seems to be rebounding from last year's COVID-19 challenges. For instance, in a six-week stretch in June and July, Orlando-area hotels and motels recorded record occupancy, according to news outlet WESH 2.
Allegiant's second-quarter earnings show the company earned close to pre-pandemic levels of revenue, bringing in $472.4 million last quarter, compared to $491.8 million two years ago.
The Sunseeker project has been bolstered by a new $350 million loan from an undisclosed lender, with the resort as collateral, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Redmond is committed to sticking to the timeline, he said in the press release. When the project was paused, it was about a third of the way built, according to executives on the investor call, and the overall project has an estimated budget of about $510 million.
"When we first announced a temporary pause in construction, we always envisioned restarting within 18 months. I'm happy to say that we're right on track," Redmond said.
When completed, the resort will have 500 hotel rooms, along with 55,000 square feet of meeting and conference space and 19 restaurants and bars. Tied into the hotel's construction is also a golf course, which is being renovated as a package with the hotel, and will open at the same time.
Working on the golf course renovations is Kipp Schulties, who has designed golf courses at Boca Raton Resort & Club and Quail Lodge Resort & Club. The project will employ about 800 construction workers and will employ 1,150 people once completed, according to a press release.
When speaking with local news station ABC7, Redmond was adamant about quashing any rumors that he was planning to sell the project at any point in the process. Redmond also emphasized that because the resort was projected to bring in 2 million people to the nearby Punta Gorda Airport, it was important to keep going on the project.
"We have never given up on this project, ever," Redmond told ABC7.