Project spotlight: Navigating a hurricane to create the vacation destination Sun Outdoors Islamorada

On May 5, 2023, Sun Outdoors shared the exciting news that their highly anticipated Florida Keys resort, Sun Outdoors Islamorada, had finally opened its doors to guests. This long-awaited vacation destination was designed to cater to visitors of all ages, providing them with an incredible oceanfront experience and an abundance of amenities tailored to RVers and vacation homeowners seeking a laid-back lifestyle.

Nestled on a 12-acre plot, Sun Outdoors Islamorada is a resort that boasts 82 full hook-up RV sites, catering to both short-term and long-term stays. Additionally, there are 48 elevated vacation homes strategically positioned to provide the ultimate view of the Atlantic Ocean. To cater to boating enthusiasts, the resort also provided 47 boat slips across three marinas. The well-appointed resort also includes private poolside cabanas, two heated pools, and a range of modern amenities, including an elevated clubhouse, on-site dining options, a second-level ocean view lounge, a dedicated dog walk, community fire pits, laundry facilities, billiards, and watersport rentals.

It’s hard to believe that this impressive resort was the result of a challenging and transformative journey that began with a hurricane.

Overcoming Hurricane Irma

In September 2017, the destruction of Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys. The existing Ocean Breeze Mobile Home Community was destroyed as winds reached up to 130 MPH and a staggering 10-foot storm surge tossed mobile homes as far as 90 feet from their foundations.

Undeterred by the devastation, the redevelopment team embarked on a five-year endeavor to rebuild and reimagine the property. The ambitious plan involved merging two legacy RV resorts; San Pedro and Sea Breeze, into a single retreat known as Sun Outdoors Islamorada.

Sun Communities assembled a comprehensive team consisting of land use attorneys, local real estate consultants, civil engineers, architects, landscape architects, and Atwell as Project and Construction Manager. This team endured 18 months of challenges to secure the site plan approval, followed by two years of navigating the intricate permitting processes involving entities such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Florida Department of Health, and the Village of Islamorada.


Creating a vacation destination

Finally, in January 2021, the construction of the new resort commenced after months of meticulous planning and hard work, and Sun Outdoors Islamorada was completed in March 2023, standing as a testament to the determination of the redevelopment team.

Upon reaching this major milestone, Nick DiBella, senior vice president of operations and sales, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to officially open our newest location, Sun Outdoors Islamorada, in the beautiful, sunny Florida Keys. As we continue to offer our guests fun and transformative outdoor experiences, the Islamorada resort is an exciting addition to our portfolio, meeting the continued demand for premium amenities alongside Sun Outdoors’ award-winning quality of service.”

As project manager and construction manager, Atwell is proud to have been involved in the rebuilding of this very important project.

The project team consisted of:

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