Fairfield Inn is first key anchor of planned Viera Town Center


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Officials break ground on the new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, which is under construction across from The Avenue Viera.

photo by mike gaffey

Tossing clumps of soil from gold-painted shovels on a chilly, breezy morning, officials broke ground March 15 on Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, the first key component of the future Viera Town Center.

The planned four-story hotel, with 116 rooms and suites, is across from Chili's restaurant in The Avenue Viera and will also be known as Viera Town Center Hotel. It should be open in January, said Kevin Arcieri, general manager of Hampton Inn Melbourne/Viera.

The hotel will offer short- and long-term rentals and feature a large pool and deck, a 40-person event room that opens onto a patio and fire feature, a dining area off an expanded Town Center Avenue, a fitness center, complimentary breakfast “and all of the comforts of a new and modern hotel,” Arcieri said to guests gathered at the construction site just west of Lake Andrew Drive.

Fairfield is the first important anchor of Viera Town Center, a mixed-use community planned by The Viera Co., the developer of Viera and a subsidiary of Oviedo-based agricultural firm A. Duda & Sons Inc.

Todd Pokrywa, senior vice president of land use planning and development for The Viera Co., said the town center will offer “a variety of new and unique shopping venues, modern-style living and luscious green space, but most importantly a centralized location for the entire community as a gathering place.”

With tourism on the rise and the United States Specialty Sports Association’s recent move to nearby Space Coast Stadium, the hotel helps fill an increasing demand for hotel rooms in Viera and Brevard County, Pokrywa said.

County Commissioner Curt Smith said the hotel will provide a “synergy” with the USSSA, the world’s largest amateur sports organization. The USSSA is moving from Kissimmee to the stadium, which formerly hosted the Washington Nationals for spring training and the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League from April through early September. The Nationals and Houston Astros moved to a new stadium complex in West Palm Beach this year, and the Manatees relocated to the USSSA’s old headquarters at Osceola County Stadium and were renamed the Florida Fire Frogs.

“They’re going to guarantee 175 game days, but more than that, for the first two years they’re going to guarantee 75,000 room nights in the motels and hotels here in Brevard County,” Smith said of the USSSA. “I was one of the people who was sorry to see the Nationals go, but the Nationals and the Marlins (who conducted spring training in Viera from 1994 to 2002) probably never put more than 5,000 heads in beds a year. So we’re talking about 100,000 in year three. That’s a lot of out-of-town folks coming to visit us, and those folks are going to spend money.”

Viera currently is undergoing a building boom. Work is progressing on the 28,000-square-foot Viera Colonnade Shops on Lake Andrew Drive just north of The Avenue Viera. The retail plaza will include such businesses as Mattress 1 One, the UPS Store, Great Clips and restaurants Charlie Graingers and First Watch.

Luxury apartment complex Artistry at Viera is under construction on Judge Fran Jamieson Way. Outback Steakhouse recently relocated from Suntree to Viera and a new El Leoncito Mexican & Cuban Restaurant is being built at 5360 Stadium Parkway in the Stadium Corners shopping center.

“It’s pretty amazing when you think back how far we’ve come as a community,” said Scott Miller, vice president of sales and community management for The Viera Co. “Back in 1989, John L. Duda stood out in a pasture here with nothing around. When you take a look around today and you see these government buildings and you see all of this, you can imagine what it was like for him to sit back in 1989 and tell people that the Duda family and The Viera Co. were going to build a new town. And here we are."