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VOL. 130 | NO. 129 | Monday, July 6, 2015

Dunavant-Owned Destin Resort On Track to Open Next Summer

By Andy Meek

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Work continues moving forward at a splashy new Destin resort owned by Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises Inc.

The Henderson Beach Resort, a more than $300 million project that broke ground in January 2014, is set to open next summer. Memphis-based Dunavant Enterprises is developing the Destin, Fla., project.

(Submitted Photo)

The Henderson Beach Resort, a more than $300 million project that broke ground in January 2014, is set to open next summer. It already has started booking meetings and events.

To get an idea of the amount of work done already, 22 miles of cable have been installed, enough to span the Golden Gate Bridge almost 13 times.

Enough concrete has been poured to cover a football field more than three feet deep, and more than 600 tons of rebar have been installed, the weight of eight Boeing 737 airplanes.

Dunavant officials unveiled the project plans to the media earlier this year. Anchoring the resort is a 170-room luxury hotel called The Henderson. Salamander Hotels & Resorts, luxury hotel management company owned by Sheila Johnson, will manage The Henderson.

“Our vision is to deliver a beachfront level of luxury previously unavailable between New Orleans and Sarasota,” said Dunavant chairman William B. Dunavant Jr. when his colleagues unveiled the project. “And Salamander’s team of professionals is the perfect fit to help us create, manage and operate this destination resort, of which the entire region can be proud.”

Dunavant’s ownership of the resort is a result of it fitting within the purview of a company that has a few specific areas of focus. Dunavant’s operating divisions include a real estate and development group, as well as a capital management company and a global third-party logistics provider that provides logistics and supply chain management around the world.

The resort’s hotel alone is projected to create more than 1,557 direct and indirect jobs, including 677 construction jobs and 261 staff positions, according to an economic impact study about the project. It also will have been, once it’s up and running, one of the first luxury resorts to open along Florida’s Gulf Coast in a decade.

The Henderson’s design is inspired by the New England shingle-style architecture popular on Destin’s coastline at the Henderson Park Inn, an existing beachfront property also owned by Dunavant that will continue to serve guests.

Guests will arrive in a “grand courtyard” that leads to a living room with high ceilings and a wall of windows. Among its other amenities, The Henderson will feature 10,000 square feet of event space, including a dedicated meeting wing, a 5,400-square-foot ballroom, a junior ballroom, private boardrooms, as well as almost 30,000 square feet of outdoor spaces.

Future phases of the resort may also add a 95-room beachfront hotel and nearly 200 luxury condominiums.

PROPERTY SALES 59 59 4,335
MORTGAGES 48 48 4,862
BUILDING PERMITS 100 100 10,251
BANKRUPTCIES 45 45 3,194