BREVARD COUNTY, Florida. –Members of the Brevard County Tourism Development Board met Wednesday to discuss the future of the $300 million Westin resort that is set to replace the International Palms in Cocoa Beach.
Driftwood Capital, the developer, said it wanted to use a $30 million grant from Brevard County over 30 years for its own marketing.
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Although most members of the Tourism Development Board opposed the proposal saying the money should not be spent.
“I am floored that we are considering this proposal. The fact that it’s half of what they’ve asked for before is laughable because it shouldn’t have even been considered for a moment,” Chairman Tom Hermansen said.
“We shouldn’t be helping them do this, making extra money from our massive bed tax,” said TDC member Giles Malone.
The Westin Cocoa Beach resort will have 500 luxury rooms and conference space in a bid to attract more tourists to the area.
Although tourism board members voted Wednesday on a motion seeking a written legal opinion from the county attorney’s office to see if the grant proposal constitutes the use of the county’s lodging tax.
“I really think to sum it up, what I tend to do, transformational, beautiful hotel, yes. 30-year scholarship? Scandalous. Absurd. Extreme,” Hermansen said.
Regardless of the TDC’s recommendation, it is still up to the Brevard County commissioners to vote on whether or not to approve Driftwood Capital’s grant proposal.
Westin’s target opening date is early 2024.
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