Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marriott Upgrade Nears Completion; Sawgrass Hotel, Nearby Shops to Be Ready for Golf Tournament in May

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Marriott Upgrade Nears Completion; Sawgrass Hotel, Nearby Shops to Be Ready for Golf Tournament in May

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Korfhage

By the time golf fans start pouring through the entrance to TPC Sawgrass in two months, the area will have a fresh look thanks to the completion of a couple of major projects there.

The renowned Sawgrass Marriott is nearing the conclusion of a two-year, $48 million facelift.

And just across PGA Tour Boulevard, a newly redeveloped Sawgrass Village is emerging from the construction rubble. The Sawgrass Village work is being done by the Ervin Lovett Miller planning, architecture and landscape architecture firm.

While neither project is taking place solely because of the popular PGA Tour event, getting them mostly complete in time to shine on an international stage is a priority.

"[Ponte Vedra Beach] has always been set apart as a destination. ... This just helps enhance that whole experience," said Russell Ervin, ELM principal and lead designer on the project. "That was the intent, taking a 1980s-vintage center and bringing it up to current date."

The fact that the village and the Marriott are making such major improvements at the same time means they should complement each other. Ervin described the area as the "front door" to the PGA Tour and TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.

Ervin and others have seen the struggles of the Marriott in recent years and are watching the re-emergence. The property went through bankruptcy proceedings in 2011 with previous ownership. A new group purchased the property for about $85 million in 2014. The hotel is now owned by CWI Sawgrass Hotel LLC, which is an affiliate of Carey Watermark Investors Inc., a publicly registered real estate investment trust that was formed to make investments primarily in the lodging and lodging-related sectors.

The group has made significant investments in modernizing the hotel and its amenities.

"We're very cognizant of their presence there," Ervin said. "Through the years, the ownership has changed. It's exciting to hear something is going to happen."

Dan McCarron, director of sales and marketing at the Sawgrass Marriott, said he knows people who might have stayed at the hotel five or 10 years ago are going to be impressed with the changes being made. …

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