G Worldwide Launches Brand in South Florida
New York-based G Worldwide plans to break ground on a 700,000 square-foot resort at an estimated cost of $80 million in Wilton Manors. The luxury resort, scheduled for completion in 2011, will bring over 500 new jobs to the area and is the first in a series of projects for the company catering to the LGBT community.
David Holzapfel, COO of G Worldwide, is enthusiastic about the project. “The reason we chose Wilton Manors for our first project is because we felt that South Florida is a wonderful location.” Holzapfel likes the community of Wilton Manors, stating that the company has already garnered a great deal of support for the project.
The resort will feature numerous lavish amenities. “We will have a fitness center, spa, nightclub, and a variety of dining options, all on property,” Holzapfel says. In addition, the resort also plans to offer a rooftop lounge and garden, as well as an art gallery and banquet center.
The property, located at 1224 NE 24th Street, will only be a short walk from the Wilton Drive entertainment district, offering visitors an array of shopping and nightlife options.
G Resort Wilton Manors also plans on attracting 25 major events to the resort, including conferences that will ultimately generate revenue for local businesses.
In addition, G Resort will feature a timeshare component, allowing visitors to purchase units in the building. “Timeshare brings a lot of value to the property, especially from the developer’s point of view,” states Holzapfel. “That component of the resort will only be about 20 percent of inventory, but will provide us with a steady stream of customers.”
The 172-unit, all-suite resort will feature four unique floor-plans. Most notable are the three-story, 3,000 square-foot penthouse suites, which promise to offer visitors superior luxury amenities.
The Wilton Manors property will surely impact local business. Reece Darham, managing director of Island City Health & Fitness, is excited about the project. “I believe it will be a fantastic opportunity for all LGBT businesses. This luxury hotel will bring a level of tourism that otherwise may not have come to Wilton Manors.”
Lori Deak, vice president of the Pride Factory, has mixed feelings on the project. “I think anything that benefits the LGBT community is wonderful, although I'm not really sure, in an area with such an amazing beachfront, whether it truly makes sense to put a resort in the middle of the city.”
Both Darham and Deak welcome the economic impact the resort will have. “The revenue brought into the surrounding businesses will be a welcome relief in this economy,” Darham says. He is most eager to see the increased level of job creation in the community.
Not everyone is optimistic about the project. Terry Hochmuth, owner of Villa Venice guesthouse on Fort Lauderdale beach, has a contrarian view. He doesn’t think the current economic landscape will be able to support such a large project. “First off, with the economic climate as it is now, I would find it doubtful that any entity would even venture to commence on a project of this scope,” he says.
Although Hochmuth’s guests prefer staying at smaller entities, he say that larger chains are trying to venture into the LGBT market. “Other hotels, such as the W in Fort Lauderdale, are going after the gay dollar.” The results have already effected a few businesses. “During the past couple of months, at least one gay guesthouse has been closed and another one has been purchased by straight interests,” he says.
Roger Handevidt, owner of Orton Terrace and chairman of the Rainbow Alliance, agrees with Hochmuth, but believes the news is positive for the region. “Fort Lauderdale will see an increase in LGBT travel. Hotels as large as G will be spending a lot of money promoting their property and the area in as a whole,” he says.
G Worldwide also plans to bring its brand to other markets in the future, including New York, Palm Springs, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
The company claims to be the first-ever LGBT luxury-lifestyle resort and brand with a goal of amassing a collection of hotels, resorts, and vacation clubs specifically designed to fulfill the needs and desires of the LGBT traveler.
For more information, please visit Gresorts.com.