|By Aaron Sharockman, St. Petersburg Times, Fla.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jun. 8, 2005 - CLEARWATER -- An international home builder has snatched up the waterfront Adam's Mark Hotel for $31.5-million, another inroad into a real estate landscape already buzzing.
Taylor Woodrow plans to demolish the 30-year-old hotel that now anchors S Gulfview Boulevard for 113 luxury condominiums and a smaller, 78-room hotel, the developer said.
Originally, the company had considered only condominiums for the site. But it altered plans to include a hotel component after talking with city officials, who were eager to retain overnight options.
"We never had a development contract set in stone. We were pretty malleable and tried to respond to the city's needs," said Jeff Handlin, Taylor Woodrow's land acquisition manager for its U.S. Tower Division. "We try to be cooperative, and it was a natural progression of the development process."
The project will reinvent the beach's southern tourist gateway, replacing a 15-story gray box with two West Indies-style buildings. City Manager Bill Horne is glad the development will include hotel rooms, especially at a time when condos are more profitable for developers.
"The gesture shows us what quality developers they are," Horne said Tuesday. "They're not just interested in maximizing their profits; they listen to the community. They make changes to reflect our vision."
The city's planning board still must approve the redevelopment, but Taylor Woodrow officials said two- and three-bedroom condominium units would range from 900 to 3,200 square feet and sell from $500,000 to more than $2-million.
Presales would begin in January, with construction slated to start next summer, if developers keep to their timetable.
"It would certainly be a luxury class development," Handlin said.
Handlin, meanwhile, said his company has not decided if the hotel portion will be managed by a national chain or independent hoteliers. Many of the details are still taking shape, he said.
What is clear, however, is that the former hotel will not reopen as once planned. The phone number at the property rang busy Tuesday. A 1-800 number went to a recorded message.
The hotel has been closed since October because of hurricane-related damage. But its owner, Pyramid Advisors of Boston, had said it planned to reopen as a 217-room Radisson resort after a $6-million renovation.
Instead, Pyramid sold the 1.9-acre site to Taylor Woodrow for $31.5-million, the second-highest known property sale on the beach. Last year, Tampa entrepreneur Kiran Patel spent $40-million for rights to a beach resort plan at the north end of S Gulfview Boulevard.
A publicly traded British company, Taylor Woodrow currently is developing high-end condominium units in Sarasota at Lido Key, where owners at the Beach Residences will have access to the nearby Ritz-Carlton Members Beach Club.
The company also is building Sereno, a 44-unit condominium on Madeira Beach.
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