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Orion Communities Proposing a 325 room Hotel with Condominiums
 on Site of Radisson Bay Harbor Hotel, Tampa, Florida

By Shannon Behnken, Tampa Tribune, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Jan. 4, 2006 - TAMPA -- New waterfront condos and a luxury hotel could replace an aging hotel at Rocky Point.

Clearwater-based Orion Communities and its affiliate RPS LLC have proposed building two 260-foot towers. One would house a hotel with 325-rooms and 20 condominiums. A 132-unit condo tower is planned next door.

The developer has a contract to purchase the 6-acre property -- south of Courtney Campbell Parkway and west of Rocky Point Drive -- contingent upon a rezoning request. The proposal is expected to be presented to the Tampa City Council in April.

A waterfront Westin hotel is under construction across the street from Orion's proposed hotel and condo. Another condominium is being built beside the Westin site.

John Grandoff, the attorney representing Orion, said the site for the new hotel is close to everything. "This is an excellent site because of the water views and the excitement of Rocky Point's bars and restaurants."

The Radisson Bay Harbor hotel is on the site, at 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Parkway, and would have to be razed.

Orion representatives could not be reached for comment.

Grandoff said the development would include boat docks for condominium owners.

The Rocky Point area is home to several hotels, and condominium projects there are gaining popularity.

Daniel Peek, managing director of Regent Street, an affiliate of The Plasencia Group, a hospitality consultant based in Tampa, said hotels with condominium components are successful in other cities but haven't been built in Tampa.

"Most four- or five-star hotels built in the U.S. in the last five years include condo units," Peek said. "Without those units, the project wouldn't have been feasible."

The Radisson was the site of four shooting deaths involving a former hotel worker in 1999.

Reporter Shannon Behnken can be reached at (813) 259-7804 or sbehnken@tampatrib.com.

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Copyright (c) 2007, Tampa Tribune, Fla.

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