Yes Pete....born and bred a Cheesehead......
The vacant land just West of where the HI used to be is also owned by the same people who own the HI land. (same ppl. as The Dunes-turned HI Express, HI P-Beach-turned--Indigo Hotel to come, Crowne Plaza P-Cola)
I had also worked in Mgt. at what is now the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand when I 1st moved here for 4 years. I very much doubt they will build another HI on Navarre Beach, as they are more interested in just "selling Rooms" than getting into the F&B Biz which accompanies a true Holiday Inn. I can see them going the route of a Holiday Inn Express, unless they find another franchise that's less expensive for them.
NB does NEED a hotel!!! But I think the days of a "family-friendly" affordable hotel are over out there. If anything DOES go up that provides more guest services, it will be more of an all-inclusive resort type property, condo-like. JMHO of course, but I know how they think.
I don't see them selling off the land in the near future, seeing as the market sux, but you never know. If something happens with the plans on the East side of NB as far as a proposed Marina and Convention center (Kenny, correct me on the specifics.....) then maybe they that land value will shoot up and they'll sell. It's been in the family for years and years.........they'll probably hang onto it and see how Indigo does on Pensacola Beach.
Indigo, btw, is a very nice hotel...another Inter-Continental Chain, brand new concept.
I wouldn't mind seeing one of those on NB, although that may be within the "territory" of not being able to have another one so close to each other.
Remember, these are just my OPINIONS, I do not have any direct info on what they're doing or planning to do, haven't talked to anyone in quite some time.