In the Know: Chicago hotel developer buying up 5th Ave. parcels, spending nearly $50M in Naples

He’s been buying up the mountains. Now, he’s buying up the beaches.

A Chicago and Aspen Colorado developer who has built hotels and other huge enterprises in the Windy City and the Rockies has been accumulating property in the Fifth Avenue South corridor in Naples.

Working with Miami Beach and New York City investor Jay Lobell, Mark Hunt is behind the spending of at least $43.5 million on more than a half-dozen parcels, traced through a maze of Colorado, Florida, Collier County, city of Naples and tax records to recently established entities.

“He develops hotels,” said Naples investor and Kentucky-based oncologist Dr. Jeff Lopez. “I used to own 975 6th Ave. S. but sold to Brookline several years ago.”

At one time, Clearwater-based Brookline Cos. had contemplated development for a few of the properties, including the old St. George and the Dragon restaurant lot it had acquired from Naples big gun Adam Smith in 2017. Previously, Smith had considered his own mixed-used project near the unusual high-traffic point where Tamiami Trail intersects with itself, and drivers have to make a left turn if they resume on south U.S. 41.

Now, that’s all among the holdings for Hunt and Lobell, setting the stage for major redevelopment better linking the beach and the historic downtown to the Design District, Bayfront of Naples, Tin City, the Gordon River and Baker Park. That’s part of the thinking also paving the way for the nearby rising AC Marriott and the Gulfshore Playhouse Cultural Campus.

Phil Fernandez, Naples Daily News

Make a Donation Today

You play a vital role. By supporting Gulfshore Playhouse, you are transforming a region and transforming lives.