It was seven months ago that demolition began on the Boca Bay Pass Club’s $3.5 million renovation. Today, despite a few headaches caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the remodeling is moving along nicely.
Drywall and hardwood flooring have been installed in the expanded Grille Room (Paradise Room), which contains a wall of glass doors that provide gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico, with its stunning sunsets.
“If members don’t say ‘wow’ when they walk into this room, the first cocktail is on me,” said Larry Hannah, chair of the renovation committee.
Recessed heaters and new lighting have been configured into the ceilings on the veranda and around the new pool bar. Work is on schedule in the new dining room, formerly the grill room. A coffered ceiling and handmade custom cabinets highlight that area. The original restrooms have been redesigned with a new unisex bathroom added at the pool bar area. In short, it’s a bustling worksite.
“In Todd Segal we have had an excellent project manager from Deangelis Diamond Construction, which is headquartered in Naples,” said Hannah, chair of the renovation committee. “The company has performed above and beyond in very difficult times — getting supplies and contractors here on a timely basis.”
The club was also pleased to be able to use local contractors for some of the work, including Grande Aire Services, Inc., Looney’s Electric and Quality Carpet in Englewood.
Although inflation hasn’t been a stumbling block, the renovation committee has had to deal with the same skyrocketing costs for construction materials plaguing the industry. Since the Pass Club entered into its contract well over a year ago, prices have gone up from 15 to 20 percent.
Increases in lumber have been particularly painful since the club had to replace a good portion of the subfloors in the 30-year-old structure. Wood rot related to the building’s location near the Gulf was the issue.
“A year ago, you could have bought a sheet of plywood for $11.50. Our recent invoice was $87.50,” Hannah pointed out.
Another challenge was ensuring that the Pass Club lights were turtle friendly based on regulations from the Department of Environmental Protection.
“There is one company in Hawaii that manufactures turtle-compliant commercial exterior light fixtures for salt exposure that contain special LED amber-light bulbs,” Hannah explained. “We also had to modify the lighting we were proposing in all areas facing the Gulf, including underneath the interior bar countertop, to ensure that minimal light projected outside.”
Amid the drywall, exposed ceilings and barren floors, Tony Zaranti, the club’s general manager, is particularly eager to show a visitor the area that will become his new wine cellar. Zaranti is already putting together a “wish list” of wines – 1,400 bottles in all.
The cellar includes a special probe that will be inserted into one of the bottles to ensure that wine is maintained at 55 degrees – the perfect temperature for red, Zaranti explained.
It’s not just the interior of the Pass Club that will have a new look. During the summer, the aged landscaping around the pool and the clubhouse was removed. Replanting started in September to include the installation of new Paspalum grass around the flagpole and the back lawn. Paspalum is a salt-tolerant grass from Georgia and the topic of an interesting side story from Hannah.
He explained that in 1971, he and the famous golf course designer from Indiana, Pete Dye, were playing golf on a course called the Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic. In the middle of the game, Dye stopped and headed for an outcropping of rocks that went down to the sea. He returned with a plastic bag of grass.
Hannah, also a Hoosier, says that Dye was a very curious man with an interest in agronomy.
“We flew that bag to Tifton, Georgia, where we stopped so that he could have that grass analyzed,” Hannah recalled. “I believe that because of his discovery, the University of Georgia became the central development and research location for Paspalum, which is used on all golf courses near salt water.”
While Hannah and Zaranti are on hand to oversee construction, there is a team of people involved in the project, and they are only a phone call or short visit away. They include Jim Drobnyk, Jim Hornig and Sue Najar, Boca Bay general manager. The interiors team is headed by LeeAnn Maloomian and includes Hank Cox, Mary Hoffman and Zaranti.