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Margaritaville Coming to Pensacola Beach

May 13th, 2010

Just a month after winning the rights to develop a Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood Beach, Florida, the Pensacola News Journal reports that Jimmy Buffett will build a Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola, Florida:

The legendary singer-songwriter has reached an agreement with Pensacola developer Marilyn Woodbury-Hess to launch the first Margaritaville Beach Hotel in a $50 million, 162-room Gulf-front hotel expected to open in late May or early June.

Buffett’s Orlando-based development partner, Jim Wiseman, announced the deal during the Santa Rosa Island Authority’s regular board meeting Wednesday evening.

Wiseman said the decision to launch the hotel brand in Pensacola was the result of three weeks of rapid-fire meetings he and Buffett held with Woodbury-Hess’ Little Sabine Inc., developers of the property owned by American Fidelity Life Insurance Co.

“Up until three weeks ago, our plans were to locate the first Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Hollywood, Fla.,” Wiseman told Island Authority members. “It’s really providential how this all came about. It was meant to be at Pensacola Beach.”

Wiseman noted that Buffett, a Mobile native, “grew up on Pensacola Beach” and his strong affinity for the area factored heavily into the decision to locate the first hotel there.

Woodbury-Hess’ deal with Buffett comes on the heels of a falling-out with Indigo, a boutique brand developed by IMG, parent company of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental franchises.

“This is not just an economic boost for Pensacola Beach and this community, but we will have the advertising and billing of Jimmy Buffet,” Woodbury-Hess said.

In addition to the hotel, Wiseman said plans are under way to build a 5,000-square-foot temporary gazebo-like structure immediately east of the hotel.

A large restaurant and water park also are part of the second phase development plan for the Gulf-front property, Wiseman said.

Preliminary site plans for the gazebo, additional parking and other exterior amenities were approved unanimously by the SRIA.

The hotel is on land once occupied by the Holiday Inn, built in 1972 and destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Tagged in Business Empire, Margaritaville Cafes