Ronto conducts wind tunnel test on Bonita Bay high-rise

The Ronto Group has commissioned a wind tunnel test to determine wind loading characteristics on the 26-floor, 120-unit luxury high-rise tower the developer is building within the Bonita Bay community in Bonita Springs.

Ronto and Wheelock Street Capital acquired the final two high-rise tower parcels at Bonita Bay late last year. The wind tunnel test is being conducted in conjunction with Tampa-based B&W Structural Designs Inc. at CPP Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado. Founded in 1999, B&W Structural Designs is a structural engineering consulting firm that provides services throughout the United States, Saudi Arabia, Honduras and Puerto Rico. CPP was the first U.S. company to provide wind engineering services to architects and engineers. CPP founders Jack Cermak and John Peterka are the acknowledged pioneers in the wind tunnel testing field and made their mark in the industry by conducting tests during the engineering of the original World Trade Center towers in New York City.

As CPP notes, wind interacts with buildings and structures in complex and often surprising ways. A building’s geometry, the surrounding terrain, nearby buildings and structures, and seasonal wind conditions all influence the way wind will interact with a building. Wind considerations are especially important for cladding and structural design. These are the services commonly thought of as wind engineering.

Wind loading codes are designed for simply-shaped buildings and do not account for the affects of terrain or nearby buildings. Wind tunnel testing offers specific, customized information about a particular building or structure, making it a key tool for efficient design. Wind tunnel testing can identify the areas where resilience and reliability can be increased and allow Ronto to allocate its resources accordingly. The ultimate objective of the wind tunnel test is to obtain data that will support the construction of an efficient, safe and reliable building. The results of the test will enable Ronto and B&W to design the Bonita Bay tower to an ultimate load of a 700-year storm recurrence.

The wind tunnel test will also make the building more comfortable for its residents by assessing the wind loads at the main entry and on the expansive outdoor terraces that architect Santiesteban & Associates has incorporated in the design.

Santiesteban’s design includes a main entry that will feature a porte cochere with a multilevel roof component. Under the canopy, a three-story trellised colonnade will create a stunning piazza in front of the entry to a two-story lobby that will showcase a spiral staircase leading to a second-floor sitting area.

In addition to providing a point of arrival and departure that is protected from the rain, the porte cochere will mitigate the potential of wind gusts at the entry that might result from the building’s aerodynamics. Depending on the results of the wind tunnel test, and on the performance of the building once it is completed, landscaping and decorative concrete elements may be added at the building entry to enhance the comfort of residents and guests even further.

A similar approach will be taken to mitigate any wind related discomfort on the residences’ terraces. The use of screens on the tower units’ terraces will significantly reduce the affects of the wind. Landscaping and decorative concrete elements will be used to ensure the comfort of residents using the open terraces on the building’s penthouse levels.

Santiesteban’s architectural design approach is focused on the living entry sequence from the moment a resident arrives at the tower to their arrival at their residence. Using a private elevator core concept, Santiesteban has divided the larger building into three sub-buildings with independent cores each supporting two of the overall six residences per floor. Two of the cores merge to accommodate penthouse residences on the building’s upper floors. The approach creates additional building surface area that enhances the views from each residence.

At Ronto’s request, Santiesteban took further advantage of the tower’s sight lines by incorporating expansive terraces with outdoor kitchens overlooking Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Bonita Bay’s golf courses, and mangrove preserves in each residence. The penthouse residences will feature outdoor spaces with large terraces, including two private terraces that will be enjoyed by the residents of the penthouse on the building’s top floor.

Santiesteban used a three-dimensional modeling process to create a design that will showcase the luxurious, open living environments that today’s homebuyers prefer and offer a level of livability rarely found in high-rise environments.

The residences will be accessed by private elevator foyers and feature great rooms, large centrally located kitchens, and two or three outdoor terraces per residence, one of which will include an outdoor kitchen. The terraces, outdoor kitchens, and extensive use of glass throughout the residences will provide views of Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Bonita Bay’s golf courses, and mangrove preserves.

Each residence will come with two protected access under-building parking spaces. Private enclosed two-car garages will be available. The space sequences and components found in the kitchens and master bath areas of the residences will reflect the new type of contemporary flair that Santiesteban has brought to the architectural style of the building.

The tower residences will range from 2,900 to 3,400 square feet under air. The tower great room floor plans include large island kitchens, three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, or three bedrooms plus a den or fourth bedroom and three-and-a-half baths. Ten-foot ceiling heights will be included per plan.

The penthouse residences will offer approximately 4,600 square feet of air-conditioned space with a large great room, a gourmet kitchen, three bedrooms plus a den or fourth bedroom, and three-and-a-half baths, or four bedrooms plus a den and four-and-a-half baths. Ceiling heights of 10 feet, 8 inches or 11 feet four-inches will be included per plan.

The building’s second floor will connect to a grand amenity complex previously designed by Santiesteban. Amenities already in place include a theater, card and social rooms, a fitness facility with a massage room and steam room, a resort-style walk-in pool, a deck with a covered cabana that includes a bar and grill, and guest suites. Preliminary plans for the new tower include a rooftop amenity deck with a venue for entertaining and enjoying Gulf views and sunsets.

Amenities of the Bonita Bay Club, including three on-site and two off-site golf courses, will be available to residents of the new tower. The Club recently completed an $11 million renovation of its 50,000-square-foot clubhouse and plans are underway to renovate and expand the fitness center.

The Bonita Bay community features an on-site marina offering dining and a lounge. Twelve miles of on-property hiking trails and a kayaking and canoeing lodge offer additional recreational options. For those who prefer the beach, bus transportation is provided to a private beach club complete with picnic pavilions, grills, beach chairs, and umbrellas on nearby Little Hickory Island.

Ronto anticipates that reservations for residences at the Bonita Bay luxury high-rise tower will be accepted late this year. Pricing for the residences will be announced this fall. Interested homebuyers can register for the interest list and project updates at