Saturday, December 9

Margaritaville hotel in Riviera Beach could be delayed but not derailed by Jimmy Buffett’s death

Negotiations to build a Margaritaville hotel at the Riviera Beach Marina have slowed since the announcement of Jimmy Buffett’s death.

City officials said the hotel would be the anchor to a larger development project that is expected to total hundreds of millions of dollars.

Social media is how most folks found out about Buffett’s death, including Riviera Beach City Council Member Douglas Lawson.

“My prayers go out to the family because when I say he’s a rock star, he really is a rock star,” he said.

Lawson said the city got its first taste of the Margaritaville brand when their cruise ship launched at the Port of Palm Beach.

He said Buffett was bullish on Riviera Beach. At the time of the singer’s death, the city and Buffett’s organization were in negotiations to build a hotel at the marina.

“They finally presented a site plan and approval to talk about the Compass brand, which is a Margaritaville brand, and we were looking to actually negotiate an LOI letter of intent to begin the process of moving forward with a groundbreaking and development,” Lawson said.

But with Buffett’s death, Lawson believes it will delay the process but not derail it.

He said the hotel is a part of a larger project that includes housing, restaurants and possibly a SeaWorld-type attraction at a cost of $400 million.

“I’m doing better now with the Margaritaville ship right here,” Demetri Salloum, the owner of Rafiki Tiki Bar and Grill at the Riviera Beach Marina, said.

He said the proposed development at the marina with the Margaritaville hotel will be a boon to the city.

“This city has lots of potential now to grow and get better,” Salloum said. “This is one of the first steps toward that improvement.”

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