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Development will see two 21-story towers, conference center, pool deck, and gulf front restaurants overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

When Pensacola developer Robert Rinke and the late Allen Levin started planning the Portofino Island Resort more than 15 years ago, they both knew the plan would be pushing the limits of a market the size of Pensacola.

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View of the Portofino final phase towers. (Special to The Pulse)

Today, it’s hard to miss the impact they’ve made. Portofino’s five 21-story towers on Pensacola Beach stand as visual landmarks on the horizon in the bay area — the largest single development on Santa Rosa Island.

With the announcement this week of the launch of the resort’s final phase, that development will grow even more, with the addition of two new 21-story residential towers, a conference center, and restaurants adjacent to the existing development abutting the entrance to the Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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View of the Portofino final phase towers six and seven. (Special to The Pulse)

“This final phase will be the last, the best, and the grand finale of the incredible beach to bay Portofino Island Resort,” said Rinke, development partner of Portofino. “This was always planned. It took us eight years to build all the towers. Today, the economy and market is back up and we’re ready to start this final development.”

“There’s nothing quite like Portofino Island Resort. The fact that it’s nestled between the Gulf of Mexico, Santa Rosa Sound, and a breathtaking natural seashore preserve make it a true island paradise,” Rinke added.

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View of the Portofino final phase pool deck. (Special to The Pulse)

The final phase for Portofino includes 234 two-and three-bedroom residences in both towers. The development will also feature an additional 40,000 square feet of outdoor amenities featuring several infinity edge pools, cabanas, and children’s play area overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

The new towers, dubbed Tower 6 and 7, will be complete in the next three to five years. Adache Group Architects is the architect, with a contractor yet to be announced.

“We’re still in design phase and it’ll take about six months to complete final design,” Rinke said. “We’re about a year away from breaking ground, and hope to have first tower open for new residents by 2020.”

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View of the Portofino final phase pool deck. (Special to The Pulse)

During design and development, the Portofino developers said great care was given to preserve over half of its 28 acres. Only 36% of the available land was used for hardscapes: buildings, parking, walkways, and pools. This left 64% of land remaining, preserving the natural resources surrounding the development.

Rinke said this final phase will make the development home to 1,000 units, reaching the island’s capacity for new residences.

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View of the restaurant and pool deck of the final phase of the Portofino resort. (Special to The Pulse)

Santa Rosa Island, on which Portofino Island Resort is situated, has a unique “cap” on future development. This allows only 18% of the island to be developed. Of the 18%, 80% is currently single family dwellings. Currently on the island, there is room for no further condominiums to be developed after completion of Portofino’s final phase of development. This island “cap” ensures the idyllic low population density on the island is preserved for generations to come.

“What’s most important is that all of our existing residents get a win out of this,” said Rinke. “Portofino is one of most unique lifestyle developments in country. Where are you going to find these views and surroundings anywhere else?”

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