8 Innovative Buildings in Naples


Walter Keller buildings-   Walter Keller was a one of the first and most influential architects of the early expansion years of Naples. From his offices on Third Street he designed many of the Third Street buildings and downtown Naples for Neapolitan Enterprises and other developers.  Mr. Keller brought to fashion many elements of Bermudan and Mediterranean architectural stylings. He was really the father of the Mediterranean architectural boon in the area with projects such as the Village on Venetian Bay and the Neapolitan Way shopping centers. His influence caused a real proliferation of that genre for decades throughout Florida.


Front Entrance

Northern Trust Building-  Built in 1989 by the Lutgert Companies this building was designed by Tampa architect Smith Barnes Architects.  The building was the first large scale contemporary building in Naples. The building is semi-circular in shape and entirely clad in green glass. It earned the early distinction of being both the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ architecture in a reader poll of the Naples Daily News in 1990.




Waterside Shops-  Originally built in the early 90’s by the Courtelis Group of Miami, it was modeled after their successful Falls Shopping Center in the Kendal area.  It was lushly landscaped complete with waterfall features. After being sold to the Forbes group, the project was completely redesigned and expanded to include Nordstrom, a parking deck and more shops.  The project went from upscale to world-class luxury.  The lush landscape gave way to clean lines and open spaces all very modern and crisp.  It is being recognized as having been entirely transformed in a most complete and well-thought through fashion.
Mercato 52 (Louis Hernandez 05-11-09) cropped

Mercato-   The Mercato was a joint venture of the Lutgert Companies and the Barron Collier Companies and designed by Atlanta based Cooper Carry Architects. It completed construction in 2008.  The Mercato is a truly transformative development for Naples. It was not only one of the largest developments ever built in Naples but it was the first (and still only) true mixed use development of size. It also broke the mold of the Mediterranean architecture, which was becoming wildly overdone after a 30 years run, with its transitional architecture.  The Mercato was a carefully crafted architectural design that paid particular attention to the flow of pedestrians and vehicles and the spatial relationships of the buildings. The main street didn’t want to be so wide that there would be a disconnect between the two sides of the street, but not so narrow so as to create a canyon affect.  The pieces of the puzzle were designed to fit to create an exciting hub to the North Naples area, which it clearly accomplished its goal.



3750 Enterprise-  in the go-go years of around 2005 and 2006 the construction trade was going full steam with no end in sight. Out of that enthusiasm a local electrical contractor embarked on its ambitious plan to build its own state of the art headquarters building. The modernistic inspired three story office industrial complex included a dramatic poured concrete atrium with glass elevator and even a future helicopter rooftop landing pad. Unfortuneately hard times resulted in the building to be sold, and is currently in the works to become the new home of the Collier County Supervisor of Elections.


Naples Redevelopment

Design Park-  The Design Park is the creation of local developer Adam Smith and was designed by Naples architect Jeff Harrell.  The project is now under construction in the “41-10” corridor of downtown Naples…the ‘Near North’ district. This area is sandwiched between US 41 and 10th Street and runs north about 10 blocks from Fifth Avenue south. The corridor is one of my picks for being the ‘next big thing’.  The area is redeveloping in a systemic fashion, one building at a time. Adam Smith and his company, Redevelopment Naples, is at the forefront of this effort and created an exciting product with Design Park.  The buildings include great formed concrete applications and the use of glass.


The Thalheimer Building-  This North Trail building was built around 2003 and was designed by noted Naples architect David Humphrey (‘the Hump’).  Like some of the others featured in this article, this building was another successful design that broke away from the traditional Mediterranean designs of the era.


Naples 360 market

The 360 Market Building-  Certainly the smallest building on the list and one that may go unnoticed as you drive along Bayshore Boulevard. This small waterside eatery was a redevelopment of an old bar once known as Tipsy Seagull along Halderman Creek.  I included it because the redevelopment kept true to the old Florida fishing village style and was very successful in its combination of scale, color and materials….plus the food is good too!



The Naples area is privileged to have some great architects as well as owners that are willing to invest in the long term of Naples by building better and more innovative buildings. A whole new crop of hot architects like Matthew Kragh, David Corban and others are stepping things up with new buildings that will certainly be in the next list of top designs.

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