Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Four years after breaking ground, Port Charlotte resort is open

Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor, which has seen major delays from a pandemic to particularly crippling hurricane since breaking ground, is set to open — with fanfare and hope atop the menu.

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 5:00 a.m. December 15, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
After years of delays, Allegiant Travel Co.'s Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor is open.
After years of delays, Allegiant Travel Co.'s Sunseeker Resort Charlotte Harbor is open.
Photo by Steffania Pifferi
  • Charlotte–Lee–Collier
  • Share

Back on Mach 20, 2019, it all seemed so simple.

That’s the day officials and well-wishers gathered in Port Charlotte for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Sunseeker Charlotte Harbor Resort, a project described that day as “nothing short of extraordinary — an incredible integrated resort experience that builds on the natural beauty of the area and brings tremendous value to guests and local residents.”

That was Allegiant Travel Co.’s then-CEO John Redmond speaking. He added that the resort “marked the launch of an unprecedented pairing ­— a world class hospitality brand with an airline at its heart — which will bring synergies to our customers and spark innovation in truly transformative ways.”

“We can't wait to swing open the doors and welcome the many visitors to what will be a premier vacation destination with incredible amenities,” added Micah Richins, Sunseeker’s now president.

Courtesy image

It was a heady time, all right, full of hope and optimism for the future. Construction would take 18 months to 24 months. The total projected cost, according to the third quarter earnings statement issued Oct. 24, 2019, was going to be $470 million.

Now — as the resort got ready to officially open Dec. 15 — that all seems so naive in retrospect. That’s because in those not-so-long ago halcyon days, pandemics were the thing of horror movies and Ian was the first name of the guy who wrote all those the James Bond books.

Over the past three years Allegiant Travel Co. has been hit with a series of misfortunes that have pushed back the projected opening by three years and seen costs for developing the Charlotte Harbor resort jump by $225 million to $695 million — a 47.87% increase. The troubles have ranged from the pandemic shutting down construction for 17 months to Hurricane Ian causing so much damage that work stopped again and new cranes were needed.

Meanwhile, the natural disasters caused major labor shortages, clogged supply chains and sent the price of construction materials skyrocketing, each one directly affecting the work.

And then, in October, Redmond, who waxed poetic on that March day in 2019, was replaced as head of the company.

Sunseeker Resort holds 785 rooms.
Courtesy image

But as the resort readied to open this week, the hope and optimism and promise of those early days before the Las Vegas company learned what the term snake bitten truly means are likely to return.

With about week to go, the Sunseeker began taking reservations at two of its top restaurants — Maury’s Steak, Seafood & Spirits and Stretto Coastal Italian Table — and announced a new cashless payment system. About 800 employees are on staff and ready to go.

And, happily for the people charged with selling the idea of the Sunseeker, the laundry list of amenities will no longer come with the qualifier, “when complete.” That list: 785 rooms, two pools, a spa and salon, a 117,000-square-foot “ground level experience,” an adults-only rooftop retreat, 60,000 square feet of meeting space, a harbor walk, 20 restaurants and bars and the 18-hole golf course.

“A main driver behind my endorsement of this property was the quality of the management team,” Maurice J. Gallagher, Allegiant’s CEO and chairman told investors in October.

“They have navigated the project from its inception nearly five years ago and they are world renowned. My conviction around the success of the property remains strong, and I am thrilled to begin realizing the benefits that Sunseeker Resort will provide.”



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

Latest News


Special Offer: Only $1 Per Week For 1 Year!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.
Join thousands of executives who rely on us for insights spanning Tampa Bay to Naples.