Aloft Hotel Proposal for Downtown Melbourne

An exciting announcement was made recently that the empty lot across from downtown Melbourne’s, Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing company the Aloft Hotel chain is proposing a 6 story, 125 room hotel to be built.  The 3-acre site (formerly a SunTrust Bank property) that extends from New Haven Ave to Melbourne Avenue. This coming week the Melbourne Planning and Zoning Board meets to discuss the site plan for the close to 82-foot-tall Aloft hotel and the city council will cast its final vote for this in the upcoming future. The downtown Melbourne developer is Cocoa Beach hotelier Samir Patel, president, and CEO of 360 Hospitality Group.

Marriot is the brand that Aloft operates under and currently has over a hundred hotels across the United States.  Florida is home to ten of those in Tampa, Miami, Sarasota, Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Doral, Aventura, and Coral Gables and the July opening of one in Delray Beach bringing that count to eleven.  The Aloft downtown Melbourne location, if approved, would feature a splash pool as well as a pool area, various lounge spots, and conference rooms the proposal also includes 139 parking spaces.

Aloft Downtown Melbourne Rendering
Image Source: Melbourne Community Development Department

Planned Location for New Hotel

The area of the proposed Aloft was a Sun Trust Bank, having been built in 1962 it served as a downtown anchor for many years until its closing in 2002.  The building itself was torn down in 2006 and not long afterward approval by City Council was given to a Coral Gables developer for what was being called, ‘The Summit at Melbourne Place’ a combination of 159 Unit Condo Tower paired with a 110 room hotel and shops that sat on New Haven Avenue. The proposal also included a restaurant that would sit close to 100 and an area of 3 story townhomes with a Crane Creek observatory viewing deck.  It also estimated being able to provide fulltime work to at least 200-250 people. But the housing market crisis put a kink in this, and construction never even began on the project leaving the plans to expire. A few years later in 2009, the city signed a lease agreement with the landowner to use the lot for public parking which is still currently in effect as of today.

Aloft Downtown Melbourne Site Plan
Image Source: Melbourne Community Development Department

Other Projects Past and Present

Other proposals have floated by to use the lot such as, a short-lived plan in 2015 to build a minor league baseball stadium for the Brevard Manatees, who at the time were searching for a home outside of their Space Coast Stadium in Viera.  City Hall has long seen this vacant area as having huge economic potential for the downtown area. A memorandum released by City Hall states; “Downtown areas that redevelop without hotel expansion tend to become ‘ghost towns’ during certain times of the day, which become unsafe and eventually bring about the deterioration of the area”.

The conversation regarding the hotel will happen after preliminary work begins on another hotel, the Hotel Melby, that is being built to the west of the proposed Aloft site.  The eleven story, Melby is set to take over the former city-owned parking lot that sits on the corners of Waverly Place and Strawbridge. The Hotel Melby will consist of 156 rooms, as well as a rooftop lounge featuring an indoor-outdoor terrace with 4,900 square feet of event-meeting space, and a 170-space parking garage.  In the last week, City Council approved to lease the vacant city-owned commercial building at 800 E. Strawbridge Ave. to Hotel Melby’s Miami developer, Willow Street Capital, they will rent the building for $700 a month for use as their construction offices.

Hotel Melby Downtown Melbourne
Image Source: Willow Street Capital

Metal fencing currently surrounds the area that sits behind Meg O’ Malley’s Restaurant & Pub. Starting last week crews were working on utility poles and electric wiring behind the restaurant with a tentative start date of the hotel’s construction within the month according to City Hall.  Meg O’Malley’s have created a map for their customers depicting parking areas across downtown Melbourne stating; “The parking lot directly behind us is now officially closed to begin construction on the new hotel, but don’t worry, WE’RE STILL OPEN!!!! You’ll find ample public parking is available in the City Hall parking garage, in the lot east of the railroad tracks, and on other lots throughout downtown Melbourne” Meg O’Malley’s administrators posted Thursday on its Facebook page “on-street parking is also available along New Haven Avenue, on intersecting side streets and on the streets around City Hall” the post reads.

In the meantime, construction steadily continues at the Highline apartment complex, where a crane now stands above the old Melbourne High spot. The eight-story apartment project includes a 175 space paved public parking lot that sits off of Melbourne Ave, which includes lighting and a pedestrian walkway to New Haven Avenue.

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