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A1A Pride Votes 7-3 to Reject Salamander Plan for 198-Room Hotel at Hammock Beach

| October 9, 2014

Salamander's rendering of the 198-room hotel fronting the beach and 16th Road in the Hammock. Click on the image for larger view.

Salamander’s rendering of the 198-room hotel fronting the beach and 16th Road in the Hammock. Click on the image for larger view.

The Scenic A1A Pride Committee this afternoon voted 7-3 to reject a plan by Salamander Hotels and Resorts to build a 198-room oceanfront hotel to replace the slimmer existing facility at Hammock Beach Resort.

The vote is a setback for Salamander, which has stressed transparency and been holding a series of meetings with community groups–and club members, in April–to win over the Hammock community before the plan begins its trek through county government. Salamander President Prem Devadas was present at one such meeting, before the Hammock Conservation Coalition Tuesday evening, where the group’s membership was broadly inquisitive but just as broadly skeptical of the plan despite assurances that it is radically different from an earlier attempt to build up the property there.

In 2010, Lubert Adler, the real estate investment company that owns the property, planned to build a 541-apartment development on the site, re-routing 16th Road, which provides beach access to the Hammock community in accordance with the former Ginn development agreement that gave rise to the resort. Devadas Tuesday evening took pains to disassociate Salamander from that plan, which the county successfully fought and defeated in a administrative decision ultimately upheld by the Florida cabinet.

“It was a land grab and I would have ruled against it as well,” Devadas told the assembly Tuesday evening. Nevertheless, he defended the size of the new proposal, scaled down as it is, as the company’s business plan is predicated on a certain number of rooms and amenities, including a 5400 square feet ballroom that can seat up to 350 people. Middleburg, Va.-based Salamander Hotels and Resorts manages and builds high-end hotels and resorts. It took over management of Hammock Beach Resort in late October 2011.  The 198 rooms are what’s needed “to make it work,” Devadas said. 

Salamander President Prem Devadas at the Hammock Conservation Coalition meeting Tuesday, with a rendition of the proposed development, as seen from beach level. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Salamander President Prem Devadas at the Hammock Conservation Coalition meeting Tuesday, with a rendition of the proposed development, as seen from beach level. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

“We do look for new development that has context-sensitive design,” Ann Wilson, who chairs the Scenic Pride committee, said. “It’s a buzz word, it basically means that whatever you build does fit in the location.” Forty-eight hours later, she was not convinced that Salamander’s plan fits, and was in the majority that voted to reject it. “If you are on the beach in the Hammock and you look up on the dunes, you see single family homes, you do not see a hotel or large development, and the lodge that’s there clearly fits in with the design and aspect of single family homes,” Wilson said today.

Today’s vote of the A1A committee is only advisory, as far as the county is concerned. But A1A’s membership represents a powerful constituency in the Hammock, as its previous displays of political muscle indicate. The Salamander plan is scheduled to go before the county’s planning board later this month (the plan has already gone before the county’s Technical Review Committee). The planning board will make a recommendation to the County Commission. Only at that level will the application for the Planned Unit Development, or PUD, see a vote that will decide the fate of the proposal.

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7 Responses for “A1A Pride Votes 7-3 to Reject Salamander Plan for 198-Room Hotel at Hammock Beach”

  1. confidential says:

    Good vote! Otherwise will take away from the already existing Hammock Beach Hotel and other resort businesses. We don’t need any more resorts when Palm Coast Hotels are in foreclosure.
    Hope the FCBOCC sees the writing in the wall. Watch out these Planning Boards can cause more harm than good to the already existing hospitality businesses and residents!

  2. T says:

    Poor Decision. Previously Scenic A1A unanimously supported this project and now they reversed themselves….. Why? This is a good project with good planning and design and fits this location. And it would be a benefit to the community and the local economy. I hope the County ignores this reversal and proceeds with the previous vote by Scenic A1A.

  3. property owner on 16th Rd. says:

    Anyone who votes for it should have to own or buy property on 16th Road so they can ride the values down when the construction traffic is hauling debris and materials for the next 2 years. After that the construction of the CASINO will surely begin. Devadas’ group took over 3 years ago yet now they need…198 rooms to “make it work?” They didn’t know before they took it over they would need to take another run at the suckers in the Hammock, or, a couple commissioners? We (personally) fought against Ginn because we knew from his track record he would find the way to get through the County Commission. We (collectively) need to see that the greed and deception goes no further. If you have any doubts about this go to Atlantic City, speak to some of those that have had their streets strewn with garbage and the crime that goes with it. Presently, many of Atlantic City Casinos are in foreclosure and/or bankruptcy. Maybe they could use the Hammock a few other Florida locations to “MAKE IT WORK?” Vote (HELL) NO!!

  4. DoubleGator says:

    Great decision. Interesting to look at their newest development concept. I see “Old Salt Park” becomes the service road exit for the hotel. Wouldn’t want those trucks interfering with the “guests” experiences now would we. Nice move. Trashes the public use and make the “park” the back alley for the hotel. Smooth move.

  5. yosh says:

    I’m thinking: How many “good” jobs in Flagler does Salamander provide? Answer is: THE MOST!!….Let’s employ more, don’t you think?

  6. Brad says:

    The truth is that this is one of those times where our Commissioners need to step up and say, “Thank you for your opinion, but we are going to do the right thing for the entire County and approve this.”

    This is a good opportunity for the community. We are seeing increasing tourism opportunities that are going t continue to grow. The Ginn Resort has been at 100% capacity as well as all of the other hotels in the area on several occasions this year. We should be capitalizing on the increased sporting activities that bring in visitors and our reputation as a vacation spot that continues to grow. Tourism is a good thing. Salamander runs great resorts and brings in higher end clientele who spend. And this adds jobs. It would be very very irresponsible to reject this opportunity for the County because a few people are speculating they will lose property value. They will gain value if anything in the long run.

  7. Hammock Resident says:

    Hubby and I were born and raised in South Florida, and moved here to get away from what happened to it. Oh yeah, developers are always doing the best thing for the area, right? The ocean side property looks like a monstrosity, a looming giant over the otherwise beautiful maritime hammock. A maritime hammock with its own micro-climate. Look what happened on the ICW, across the street. Tons of oaks wiped out. Just throw in a buzzword like “jobs,” and paradise is gone.

    Face it, developers only want to line their pockets and try to convince us it is so much better for the economy, jobs and so on. We’ve seen it before down south. Want to really do us a favor? Leave the Hammock alone!

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