Underwater hotel could give colorful views

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trtldvr

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, October 27, 2013 Thinking out of the water
Underwater hotel could give colorful views
BY TIMOTHY O'HARA Citizen Staff
tohara@keysnews.com
[SIZE=+0]Hundreds of thousands of scuba divers flock to the Florida Keys each year to see tropical fish, sharks and other colorful marine life.
Key West-based businessman Tony Webb wants to give that same experience to visitors, but his plan would not require them to leave the comfort of their own room, or in this case "pod," to enjoy the underwater view.
Webb has designed and proposed a 12-unit underwater hotel/research center to be placed at a depth of 28 feet, he said. The pods are connected by a long main hallway and would be accessed from the surface by an elevator shaft that would also be used to pump in oxygen, electricity and other utilities.
The pods, with thick acrylic windows, are made out of steel. They would be brought to the Keys by barge and welded together on site, Webb said.
The 42,000 cubic feet hotel/research center would be fastened or anchored to the bottom on private property or bay bottom, he said.
"It is well thought out and well designed," he said proudly. "It will be similar to the International Space Station."
Webb has yet to chose an exact location in the Florida Keys for the hotel, but believes the unincorporated area of Monroe County would make a perfect location.
Webb would not release too many details on the project as he appeared concerned about possible competitors stealing his ideas.
The projected cost of the project is $8 million, and Webb is currently soliciting investors, he said. To help raise funds, he is prebooking hotel rooms at a rate of roughly $1,500 a night, according to Webb's web page, planetoceanunderwaterhotel.com.
The money would be placed in an escrow account and would be used to help secure banks loans to cover construction and design costs, he said.
Webb has partnered with Paul Patterson, who is a certified home and building inspector in the Keys.
Patterson will oversee the planning aspects and will work with local, state and federal permitting agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers and county and state building officials.
Patterson has yet to apply for the necessary permits, but plans to meet soon with the Monroe County administrator and county head of growth management to discuss the project, he said.
The project could benefit visiting marine biologists and researchers, while giving disabled children, veterans and others access to marine life, Patterson said.
"We don't do enough to give the disabled access to the beaches and waters," he said.
If successful, Webb has plans to place similar underwater hotels in other locations in the Caribbean and Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
For nformation, go to www.planetoceanunderwaterhotel.com.
tohara@keysnews.com
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DennisS

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I wish him good luck with the permitting
 

tsewyek

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We were invited by the Aqua Ranch to have the underwater hotel at their 14 salt water lake at mile marker 69 in Layton, FL. They spent 3 years obtaining the required permitting. True, we still need our permitting and have a good feeling about receiving approval. Our major focus is expanding the operations into 15 locations around Planet Ocean. We feel the scuba, marine biologist and the frequent visitors to Planet Ocean will like our efforts. Have you seen the BioRock program we are supporting? Full details are available at the Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel website. Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel - America's First Affordable Luxury Underwater Hotel Located in the Florida Keys - Home
 

diversteve

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I figure most divers with $1500/night to spend will rather go diving somewhere for a week - like Roatan.
 

tsewyek

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Your assumption is some what accurate. The fact is that most people are not scuba divers and have never had such an experience. The other underwater hotels will be charging much more than $1500/night and you can bet they will be doing very little for the restoration of the coral reef system. I have dove Roatan in the past and that location would do very well for a Planet Ocean Underwater Hotel. Thank you for your input diversteve.
 
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