LA QUINTA HOTEL GETS APPROVED FOR LIGHTHOUSE POINT
BY MARIE PULEO | LIGHTHOUSE POINT NEWS REPORTER
LA QUINTA HOTEL APPROVED FOR LIGHTHOUSE POINT: A La Quinta hotel planned for a vacant site at 4060 N. Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point received site plan approval from the Planning and Zoning Board unanimously last Tuesday.
The 4-story, 80-room La Quinta hotel, whose parent company is Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, will be the first hotel in Lighthouse Point, according to city officials.
The hotel site is directly south of the Vintage At Lighthouse Point townhome community and north of Lighthouse Point Gardens North condominiums, both of which are three stories high. The residential area east of the site is mainly fourplexes, duplexes and townhomes.
The hotel rooms will be located on the first three floors of the hotel building. An open-air pool deck and an indoor fitness center will be on the fourth floor.
The hotel’s ground-floor main lobby will include an area that serves complimentary breakfast for hotel guests, but the hotel will not have a restaurant. Hotel guests will be able to purchase snacks, bottled beverages and toiletries at a grab-and-go space next to the reception desk. Alcohol will not be sold on the premises.
The hotel will have 85 on-site surface parking spaces. A covered area for pickup and drop off will be located at the hotel entrance, which will face south.
The developer behind the hotel project is MATT Development, a family business based in Long Island.
The original plans were for a 4-story dual-brand hotel that paired La Quinta by Wyndham and Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham under the same roof. The dual-brand hotel was slated to have 93 rooms and 103 parking spaces. It would have included a two-level open-air parking garage at the southeast corner of the property. The pool was going to be an outdoor swimming pool located at ground level between the hotel building and the parking garage.
Thomas DeSousa, general partner of MATT Development, said the parking garage was removed from the plans because “the property’s zoning does not exclude a raised parking structure, but it doesn’t include it either.”
According to city administration, MATT Development was advised that they would need to propose a change to the city’s code to allow such a structure.
Proposing a change to the city’s code, and possibly going through a court process, would have been too lengthy, said DeSousa.
Without the parking garage, more parking spaces needed to be added at grade level. In order to accommodate the additional grade-level parking, the number of hotel rooms had to be reduced and the pool was relocated to the fourth floor. Because the room count was reduced, the hotel could no longer be a dual-brand hotel.
Underground parking wasn’t an option due to the water table, and a podium parking garage at the base of the building wasn’t possible due to height restrictions, said DeSousa.
La Quinta has “a good name in the industry,” said DeSousa. All employees of the hotel will be trained by La Quinta.
DeSousa hopes to begin construction of the hotel in 2-3 months. He expects construction to take approximately one year to one-and-a-half years to complete.
The hotel site is just over 1.4 acres, with an approximately 150-foot frontage on Federal Highway. The hotel building will run lengthwise east to west on the property, and will be situated at the northwest corner of the site.
The property is zoned as a Special Business District (B-3A) with an underlying land use designation of Commercial.
The hotel building height will be 50 feet to the flat roof, and 54.8 feet to the top of the elevator and stairwell shafts. An 8-foot perimeter wall will be built between the hotel and the adjacent residential properties, which is a requirement of the city’s code.
In March, the city’s Community Appearance Board approved the hotel project with several conditions, some related to concerns about protecting the adjacent neighborhood from the impacts of lighting. Lighting shields must be included on all of the ground-level light fixtures along the property lines – including the parking lot lighting – to direct the light downward. Lighting shields must also be added to the light fixtures along the north side of the pool deck on the fourth floor, and the pool deck must be surrounded by a 6-foot-high screening wall.
A condition set for the landscaping requires that the ground cover (excluding grass), the shrubs, palms and trees must be primarily South Florida native plant species.
The Planning and Zoning Board approved the site plan subject to the following: all of the requirements of the Community Appearance Board must be met; the pool lights must be shut off at 10pm or earlier; and the lights must be restricted to a downward orientation to reduce the overflow to the surrounding area.
MATT Development purchased the property for the hotel in January 2020 for $2.2 million.
The site has stood vacant for many years. Most recently, it was occupied by Gaucho Rodizio, a Brazilian steakhouse, and prior to that, Chateau De Ville, a catering and event space. The structure that stood on the property was demolished, and the parcel has been undeveloped since.
After building the La Quinta hotel, MATT Development will own and operate it, said DeSousa.
MATT Development built and owns a 4-story building in Rego Park, New York, that consists of a 50-room Wyndham Garden Hotel, a Starbucks, fitness center, BLVD Bistro & Bar, retail space and a 77-space parking garage.
DeSousa, who owns a condominium in Deerfield Beach and lives there in the winter, said his family was looking for property to develop in the area and purchased the one in Lighthouse Point because “we thought it was a perfect spot for a hotel, and it is zoned properly for a hotel.”
“We anticipate our clientele will be couples and families, which is the target market of La Quinta,” said DeSousa. “It is our desire that the hotel be an asset to Lighthouse Point in terms of revenue, appearance and convenience.”
The convenience aspect is that family and friends coming to visit Lighthouse Point residents will have the option of staying at the hotel, said DeSousa.
DeSousa noted that his son Michael DeSousa, managing partner of MATT Development, was instrumental in bringing La Quinta on board and moving the project forward. DeSousa’s other children – Anthony, Thomas Jr. and Donna – are also involved in the project.
“We are actively looking to either buy or develop property in Florida because we hope to eventually relocate to South Florida,” said Thomas DeSousa.