Margaritaville Coming to Pensacola Beach

posted May 13th, 2010 at 11:44 am

by Josh Martin

Just a month after winning the rights to develop a Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood Beach, Florida, the Pensacola News Journal reports that Jimmy Buffett will build a Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola, Florida:

The legendary singer-songwriter has reached an agreement with Pensacola developer Marilyn Woodbury-Hess to launch the first Margaritaville Beach Hotel in a $50 million, 162-room Gulf-front hotel expected to open in late May or early June.

Buffett’s Orlando-based development partner, Jim Wiseman, announced the deal during the Santa Rosa Island Authority’s regular board meeting Wednesday evening.

Wiseman said the decision to launch the hotel brand in Pensacola was the result of three weeks of rapid-fire meetings he and Buffett held with Woodbury-Hess’ Little Sabine Inc., developers of the property owned by American Fidelity Life Insurance Co.

“Up until three weeks ago, our plans were to locate the first Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Hollywood, Fla.,” Wiseman told Island Authority members. “It’s really providential how this all came about. It was meant to be at Pensacola Beach.”

Wiseman noted that Buffett, a Mobile native, “grew up on Pensacola Beach” and his strong affinity for the area factored heavily into the decision to locate the first hotel there.

Woodbury-Hess’ deal with Buffett comes on the heels of a falling-out with Indigo, a boutique brand developed by IMG, parent company of Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental franchises.

“This is not just an economic boost for Pensacola Beach and this community, but we will have the advertising and billing of Jimmy Buffet,” Woodbury-Hess said.

In addition to the hotel, Wiseman said plans are under way to build a 5,000-square-foot temporary gazebo-like structure immediately east of the hotel.

A large restaurant and water park also are part of the second phase development plan for the Gulf-front property, Wiseman said.

Preliminary site plans for the gazebo, additional parking and other exterior amenities were approved unanimously by the SRIA.

The hotel is on land once occupied by the Holiday Inn, built in 1972 and destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Tagged in Business Empire, Margaritaville Cafes

  • RumShopRyan

    Any news on what they are going to do about Hollywood FL? I was so excited about that location!! Now they move it to the small town of Pensacola? I’m not a fan.

    Let us know if they are going to build anything on that plot on Hollywood are just going to give it up to the boring Planet Hollywood chain.

  • Josh Martin

    The article was confusing. I’m not sure if they are still building in Hollywood or not

  • Stevo 4dito

    I am so stoked about Margaritaville coming to Pensacola Beach. The island is already packed everyday with tourists that this will make the party even greater!! The hotel looks amazing and is on a beautiful, blue-green water beach.

  • Trisha Williams (Peters)

    This is great news for Pensacola Beach! I have lived and enjoyed our beach for about 50 years now and we welcome you with open arms Jimmy!

    No Worries….

  • Steve

    I went to Pensacola in the early 80’s for a work related project. Fell in love with the place. At that time it was a laid back sleepy kinda place, sort of flying under the radar. I’m from charleston so that felt good. We went over to Perdido key and had a good seafood meal at a small eatery there. I don’t rememebr the name but the crowd was small. But there was a little marina there so we drifted out on the docks and spoke to a couple folks who had their boats moored. We commented on how nice it was down there and that how unbelievable it was that it wasn’t overwhelmed with condos and hotels. I remeber one guy saying that they called it a redneck resort. I liked that. Several years later a lady was hired where I work who came from Pensacola. I mentioned my experience and she told me it had definitely been discovered and was nothing like it was in the early 80’s. I haven’t been lately but look forward to visiting again. But I wonder if the old time residents like it now more than before.

  • Laurel Van Dyke

    Incredible news for Pensacola Beach! I live in Navarre and think the beaches are the most beautiful beaches in the US (and I grew up at the beach… Huntington Beach, CA).
    Thanks, Jimmy Buffett for taking a leap and branching out at Pensacola Beach!

  • Alice Cartee

    How do I get tickets to the Pensacola concert? I am so excited!

  • Jake


    Mr Buffet,

    Please take your corny, cliche-ridden corporate franchise elsewhere. Your catchy, “I’m just a normal guy,” laid back charm that made you the envy of so many “too late for Woodstock” wannabee hippies has run its course. That latitude attitude that brought you so much cash…yeah, we invented it, so please spare us from the plastic yoke of your bright gimmicky t shirts and overpriced novelty mugs. We are already forced to sit through HOURS of your music at every restaurant with outdoor seating. Can’t you find somewhere else that is not overexposed to your open-shirt ideals…like the moon?
    Pensacola Beach is one of the last frontiers of the Florida coast that is not over built or overly commercialized. All those ideas and themes that you were able to capitalize on and display to the world in your music came from places like Pensacola Beach…and now we are about to be donkey punched by it.

    You have had an amazing career, don’t let this monstrosity become your legacy. How about another crack at writing? I loved “Tales from Margaritaville.”

    25 years from now, do you want to be remembered as that amazing singer and songwriter who perfectly captured the theme of the last American frontier, or the guy who’s name is on that POS hotel that just got trashed by the latest hurricane?

    You’re really cool, we get it…please leave our beach the way it is supposed to be.

  • Kathy Tanner

    Welcome to Pensacola Beach! Thank you! Thank you! from all those Sabiners in the Sandspur Republic >

  • jackie

    I am so excited! I have been to the margaritaville in orlando and the one in the cayman islands. I adore them both. I have thought pensacola would be the perfect place for a margaritaville since the first time I visited one. The hotel sounds like a really neat idea as well, but so excited for the restaurant.

  • go holiday

    We surfed everywhere to grappost about to this subject….. I salute you

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  • Darlene_Freeman

    I have been to every Margaritaville I could get to. Have all the shirts and my husband has the caps. We have never been disappointed. My husband also went to Southern Miss. We live in Tupelo, MS and are also fans of Mac’s, his friend who is from Belmont MS a short distance away. No one can disappoint me when it comes to Buffet, they dont come any better. By the way, I know my southern style is showing and I am very proud.

  • Darlene_Freeman

    You are apparently not a fan of the south. Get a grip


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