The science, academic and tourism cluster around Jupiter’s Abacoa development has spurred the construction of a hotel beside Roger Dean Stadium.
A groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the $20 million Courtyard Marriott project demonstrated the partnerships that brought the project to fruition. Nearby, the earth-moving equipment went silent for the ceremony, but the 128-room hotel was clearly under way with walls shaping up and trenches dug.
“We think it’s a prime location,” said Ron Finvarb, principal of the Miami-area Finvarb Group he runs with father Richard Finvarb, originally from Colombia. The pair frequently develop hotels for Marriott as a minority-owned builder.
When the hotel opens early next year, it will feature a fitness center, outdoor lounge area and event space. It will accommodate business travelers for the Scripps Florida and Max Planck biomedical cluster as well as Florida Atlantic University visitors and leisure travelers like spring training fans.
The Abacoa development was always intended to have a hotel, Jupiter Mayor Karen Golonka said. But ultimately it was important for government to get involved to make it happen, she said.
The hotel application was brought to the Abacoa community architect in 2008, Abacoa board President Peter Lippman said. But while Scripps and Max Planck were getting built, the hotel plan lingered in a real estate market and economy that was brutal to commercial development.
Funding has to be creative to get development like the Jupiter Courtyard Marriott built, Golonka said.
Ultimately, the county provided $2.3 million in working capital through a Housing and Urban Development Agency loan program, said Sherry Howard, deputy director of the county’s Department of Economic Sustainability. Finvarb will pay back the money. Its lender Coral Gables-based Ocean Bank was also at the ceremony.
To qualify for the federally supported financing, the project has to fill more than half of its jobs from low-to-moderate income households. The hotel is expected to create 68 full-time jobs, and many leisure and hospitality jobs fall into that income category.
During the planning and construction phases, it will also mean about 175 temporary jobs.
“The return on a little investment is usually pretty good,” County Commissioner Hal Valeche said, who represents the north county district.
The hotel will bring more business to Abacoa’s Main Street area and even its golf course. More business activity boosts property values and employment, he said.
The Hilton hotel chain also built a Homewood Suites across Donald Ross Road from Abacoa about four years ago.