The 1-acre site at 7 S. Third St. has been vacant for more than a decade.
An 80-room Element by Westin hotel is proposed near southeast Third Street and Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville Beach.
The 1-acre property at 7 S. Third St. has been vacant for more than a decade since a Texaco gas station and convenience store was closed and demolished.
Bobby Bhikha of Shivam Properties II LLC intends to develop the $10 million hotel. Property records show Shivam bought the land through a subsidiary in 2004 for $700,000.
Bhikha said he plans to break ground by March after obtaining permits from the city of Jacksonville Beach and approvals from the St. Johns River Water Management District.
Construction is expected to take 14-16 months.
“We really think this is going to be a good fit for Jacksonville Beach because there’s no extended stay hotel in the area,” Bhikha said Tuesday.
He said the three-story hotel's amenities will include a pool and fitness center.
“We will not have a restaurant, but there will be complimentary breakfast and other snacks available for guests,” he said.
Bhikha said his group planned to build up to five stories, but the city of Jacksonville Beach would not allow it.
Through referendum in 2004, 76 percent of Jacksonville Beach voters agreed to restrict new construction to 35 feet after a wave of high-rise residential and commercial buildings began popping up around the turn of the century.
“We tried to get that exception but the city did not want to move on the limit,” Bhikha said.
Bhikha said his group “spent a lot of time working with the city on the engineering to make sure it’s a good fit for Jacksonville Beach.”
Bhikha said the land remained undeveloped for years because the company had to conduct environmental remediation to clean up contamination left by the gas station.
“That’s done now so we’re moving ahead as fast as we can,” he said.
According to plans submitted to the St. Johns River Water Management District, the main structure will front Beach Boulevard, facing the Walgreens Pharmacy. Plans show 80 parking spaces and drivers will be able to enter from Second or Third streets.
Bhikha said the ground floor will be a lobby, with rooms on the second and third floors.
“It is a small hotel in terms of the number of rooms, but it will feel much larger inside with this layout,” he said. “It’s going to be a good fit for Jacksonville Beach.”
Goodson, Nevin and Associates is listed as the engineer with Burke Design Inc. providing landscape architecture services.
BRR Architecture is the project architect.
The Element hotel brand was launched by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and both now operate as Marriott International Inc. brands.
As an extended stay hotel, Element offers larger guest rooms with fully-equipped kitchens and large closets and bathrooms.
Common areas include a “backyard” with grills and a pool, a lobby with workspaces, and a limited-service kitchen that serves complimentary breakfast.
According to the brand’s website, there are 45 Element by Westin hotels in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and in North America.
There are 32 hotels in the U.S. The three Florida locations are in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.