Construction Set to Begin in 2021 on Iconic Westin Cocoa Beach Resort, Will Create 800 Jobs
By Space Coast Daily // November 3, 2020
Completion expected by 2024
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Cocoa Beach is on track to get its first 4+ Star hotel – an “iconic resort” worthy of the Space Coast’s past and future, according to the developer’s application.
Driftwood Capital has officially submitted its plans to the city planning board for its redevelopment of the International Palms Resort and Conference Center into a new 502-key Westin Cocoa Beach Resort.
According to the application, the $300 million redevelopment would create Brevard County’s largest conference center, providing over 120,000 square feet of versatile indoor and outdoor meeting space, along with several signature dining establishments and a spa.
Construction is slated to begin in 2021, with completion expected by 2024.
“Economic growth and expansion has created a tremendous need for a modern, new resort-hotel that can accommodate the needs of the sophisticated business traveler as well as leisure travelers,” said Carlos Rodriguez Sr., CEO of Driftwood Capital.
“The Westin Cocoa Beach is a transformative hospitality project that we hope will become iconic and emblematic of the Space Coast’s revival as an economic hub and lifestyle destination.”
An economic impact study indicated that the project will create roughly 700-800 construction jobs over a three-year period, as well as 420 full- and part-time jobs upon opening – welcome news in light of the economic toll the pandemic has taken on the region.
The project’s net fiscal benefits for the city and Brevard County are expected to be $93.4 million over the next 20 years.
Driftwood, which has a 30-year track record for developing and operating hotels, and also owns the Hilton Cocoa Beach and the Crown Plaza Melbourne, said that it took great care in selecting the project team for this development given the sensitivities to height restrictions and environmental impacts in Cocoa Beach.
It ultimately selected world-renowned architectural firm Gensler to lead the design.
“We were very cognizant of the fact that Cocoa Beach has a unique character and history and we needed to create something appropriate to the city and the site,” said Nelson Parker, Managing Director of Driftwood Capital’s Development Fund.
“We sought out an architectural firm capable of creating something extraordinary while minimizing the ecological impacts of such a new development. Gensler’s exceptional track record in innovative, sustainable design deeply impressed us, as did the vision and commitment of their seasoned team.
Gensler’s design draws aesthetic inspiration from the NASA space program and the local surfing and beach culture, embracing an updated classic vibe.
It features sleek lines and curvilinear design language throughout the building massing, while warm tones and textures were selected in order to enhance the coastal experience and invite relaxation for guests as well as the community.
“The project’s many rooms and amenity spaces, along with the building height restrictions, led the Gensler team towards a predominantly horizontal design,” said Dawn Gunter, Managing Director in Gensler’s Tampa office.
“Our team developed a design that lifts the building up to create porosity through the site and establishes a main view corridor directly from the entrance to the beach. The podium is shaped to define a large central courtyard that houses a number of resort amenities and public spaces that the community can enjoy.”
The resort program calls for a state-of-the-art grand ballroom for 1,000 people, a junior ballroom, several banquet/break out/private function and board rooms, and a business center, as well as several outdoor terraces which allow for rocket launch visibility.
Amenities accessible to the general public include a wave/surf pool; branded interactive indoor golf suites; a spa with 10-treatment rooms, salon and areas for outdoor wellness; and a multitude of food-and-beverage venues including a signature fine-dining restaurant & lounge, a 3-meal restaurant, retro diner, Beach bar & grille, branded high-end coffee shop, beach club & tiki bar with a stage for live music and DJs, gelateria, lobby bar and sundries market.
An easement from AIA to the beach will allow the public access to the beach through the property, and there is also a parking structure for 781 cars.
Private amenities for hotel guests include a resort pool, kids pool and play area; a pool bar; Jacuzzis and cabanas; a tennis court, basketball court, pickleball courts, shuffleboard, cornhole, Bocci ball, pool and ping-pong tables; bike rentals and beach equipment rentals; and a fitness facility.