Aloft Hotels proposes to build a six-story, 125-room hotel at the grassy lot across the street from Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Co. in downtown Melbourne.
This 3-acre site is the former SunTrust Bank property, extending from New Haven Avenue downhill to Melbourne Avenue. Nomad Café and Blossom House Florist bound the parcel to the east and west, respectively.
Thursday night, the Melbourne Planning and Zoning Board will discuss a site plan for the 81-foot-tall hotel. The Melbourne City Council will cast final votes in the future.
“Downtown areas that redevelop without residential/hotel development tend to become ‘ghost towns’ during certain times of the day, which become unsafe and which ultimately bring about the deterioration of the commercial environment,” a City Hall planning memo states.
“This project proposes a hotel use with their guests helping to strengthen the 24-hour life,” the memo states.
The Aloft Hotels discussion will occur the week after preliminary site work started on “Hotel Melby” — roughly a quarter-mile to the west. This 11-story Tapestry Collection by Hilton boutique hotel will replace the former city-owned parking lot at the southeast corner of Strawbridge Avenue and Waverly Place.
Chain-link fencing now rings this area behind Meg O’Malley’s Restaurant & Irish Pub. Monday, electrical line crews worked on utility poles and wires behind the popular pub. Hotel construction should start this month, City Hall officials announced.
Aloft Hotels is a Marriott brand that operates 123 hotels across North America, including Florida cities Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Tampa. A Delray Beach hotel is scheduled to open in July.
The downtown Melbourne developer is Cocoa Beach hotelier Samir Patel, president and chief executive officer of 360 Hospitality Group.
Patel bought the land from a Miami corporation in October 2017 for $2.75 million, property records show.
City Hall planners have long viewed this vacant 3-acre site at 1109 E. New Haven Ave. as a potential economic catalyst for downtown Melbourne.
The two-story SunTrust Bank was built in 1962 and served as a longtime downtown anchor business until the branch closed in 2002. Crews demolished the abandoned bank in 2006 — as Florida’s real estate market was rocketing to new heights.
Later that year, the City Council approved a Coral Gables developer’s ambitious plans for The Summit at Melbourne Place. That costly complex called for a 159-unit condominium tower, a 110-room hotel, sidewalk shops along New Haven Avenue, a 90-seat restaurant, a three-story townhouses and a Crane Creek observation deck. Estimated full-time jobs created: 200 to 250.
Construction never commenced after the subprime mortgage crisis struck, and The Summit at Melbourne Place site plan expired. In 2009, the landowner and city inked a lease agreement to use the property for public parking, which continues today.
Then, in 2015, a short-lived plan emerged to build a 4,000-seat minor-league baseball stadium for the Brevard County Manatees, who were searching for a home outside Space Coast Stadium in Viera.
The Aloft Hotel would feature a splash pool and pool deck, lounge areas, conference rooms and 139 parking spaces.
To the west, Hotel Melby will house 156 rooms, a rooftop lounge featuring an indoor-outdoor terrace with 4,900 square feet of event-meeting space, and a 170-space parking garage.
Last week, the City Council agreed to lease the vacant city-owned commercial building at 800 E. Strawbridge Ave. to Hotel Melby’s Miami developer, Willow Street Capital. Pwned Cyber Cantina opened here in 2011, then closed after a brief run.
The company will rent the building for $700 a month for use as construction offices.
Meg O’Malley’s officials have created a map for their customers depicting parking areas across downtown Melbourne.
“The parking lot directly behind us is now officially closed to begin construction on the new hotel, but don’t worry, WE’RE STILL OPEN!!!! You’ll find ample public parking is available in the City Hall parking garage, in the lot east of the railroad tracks, and on other lots throughout downtown Melbourne,” Meg O’Malley’s officials posted Thursday on the pub’s Facebook page.
“On-street parking is also available along New Haven Avenue, on intersecting side streets and on the streets around City Hall,” the post reads.
Meanwhile, construction continues humming along at the eight-story Highline apartment complex, where a tower crane stands above the old Melbourne High site. That project will include a paved 175-space public parking lot off Melbourne Avenue, featuring lighting and a pedestrian walkway to New Haven Avenue.