|By Toni Whitt, The Bradenton Herald,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 22, 2011--BRADENTON -- The Downtown Development Authority voted unanimously to spend another $15,000 to have a consulting firm examine and negotiate a public/private contract to redevelop the Manatee River Hotel, best known as "the Pink Palace."
The developer Widewaters Group Inc. has asked the downtown agency to contribute millions of dollars in redeveloping the historic hotel into a Hampton Inn. The project would retain historic elements of the Mediterranean Revival building that went up in downtown in 1925.
The developer originally asked the authority for $6.3 million for the project, to include downtown parking, tax abatements and grants to build the hotel in the downtown.
The authority hired Abramson & Associates Inc., a consulting firm, to explore the project's feasibility and costs and to negotiate a lower public contribution, while keeping Widewaters interested in developing in downtown.
So far the city has spent $52,500 on the consultant.
Barry Abramson told the board today, that so far he has been able to cut the city's contribution to the project from $6.3 million to between $3 million and $4 million.
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