Satellite Beach could be site of 'solar' hotel


SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – A development group is looking to build in Satellite Beach what is believed to be the state's first solar-powered hotel, according to news 6 partner Florida Today.

The project, which received approval Monday from the Satellite Beach Advisory Board, is on 1.2 acres on the southwest corner of State Road A1A and Desoto Parkway. That was the former site of a once-popular beachside eatery called Peg Leg's.

The building's architect, who specializes in environmentally sustainable projects, said the three-story project would use 80 percent less energy than a conventional structure of its type.

The property presently, located on the west side of SR A1A, is owned by the city's Community Development Authority, and officials were particular about what type of development they wanted to see on the property. Most notably, they wanted a project that fit in with the city's environmental sustainability efforts, Florida Today reported.

The $6 million-$8 million, 60,000-square-foot project, would include:

  • A 100,000-watt array of solar panels that would provide power for most of the structure's operations
  • A 25-room, four-star, boutique hotel
  • Nine residential condos on the third floor.
  • A higher-end chain restaurant
  • A rooftop garden to moderate the building's temperature and also collect and filter rainwater for various uses.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations

"We think the project will showcase sustainability goals the Satellite Beach wants to establish, including solar energy use, while providing a high-end casual restaurant and boutique hotel for vacation and business travelers coming to the area," said Laurel Buescher, a broker for Sun 'N Sea Real Estate, the project's developer.

The hotel is aiming at the business travelers doing work with the area's defense and aerospace industry, including Blue Origin, Harris Corp., Northrop Grumman, Space X and others.

Buescher is still shopping for a hotel brand for the project.

This would be the city's first hotel since the closing of the Ramada Inn Oceanfront Resort in 2004, Florida Today reported. The Ramada Inn  served as a Satellite Beach landmark for many years, rising across the highway from Atlantic Plaza. But in September 2004, Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne's howling gusts battered the beachfront hotel — ripping a three-story-tall gash in its side.

The Ramada never reopened. A demolition crew razed the ruins in June 2006. Lawrence Maxwell AIA Spacecoast Architects PA, is in charge of the project’s design. He has long been involved in designing environmentally sustainable projects, including Odyssey Charter School in Palm Bay. Former Gov. Charlie Crist awarded Odyssey in 2008 as "the most energy efficient and environmentally designed school " in Florida.

"There is a lot of very unique aspects to this project," Maxwell said of the Satellite Beach hotel/condo project.

John Stone, building official with the city of Satellite Beach, said a series of public meetings over the years focused on what was most desirable for that property. It was most suitable for a convenience store gas station, Stone said, but that's not what residents really wanted for the site.

"We wanted a sustainable and compatible business for that area," Stone said.

The next step for the project is to get a developer's agreement and then proceed with two public hearings before Satellite Beach's city council.