|By Richard Mullins, Tampa Tribune,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 07, 2012--TAMPA -- In as few as two weeks, restaurants at the historic Floridan Hotel might open, and the hotel could open by the end of June, if job postings are to be believed.
And there are signs the hotel could open under a new name, "The Floridan Palace."
Owners of the downtown hotel have taken years renovating the formerly derelict tower and have long held back from announcing any kind of opening date, saying only that they'll open when ready and not before.
Now, those owners have started posting job openings for the property, offering a glimpse into their plans.
The hotel is hiring food and beverage workers for the Crystal Dining Room, the Sapphire Lounge and the Lobby Bar, including hosts, servers, banquet servers and bartenders. The posting include the phrase "opening June 15" 2012.
The second job posting lists a series of positions for the hotel staff: front desk, concierge, executive housekeeper, bellhop, night audit and maintenance. "Must have previous hotel experience," the posting reads, with the same opening date.
The hotel also is recruiting for an executive chef to run all daily operations, including employee management, food safety and guest interaction. "Greek cuisine experience a plus," the posting reads. Notably, the hotel owner, Antonios Markopoulos, is Greek. That job posting lists an opening of June 30.
At least one Website has been built for the hotel, floridanpalace.com. While Markopoulos' name appears on a crest, much of the site remains under construction.
That site includes the name "The Floridan Palace" in stylized script font, with sections to make reservations and learn about wedding reception facilities, but temporary text fills the space for descriptions and photos are of other hotels.
The overall renovation has taken years, and at one point owners hoped to open the hotel by the Super Bowl in 2008. The most recent goal was to open by the Republican National Convention this August.
Officials with the hotel were not available for comment Wednesday.
Even before formally opening, the hotel has started to host some events in a ballroom created by renovating the adjacent former post office. One tony event on May 24 was held by the DEA Educational Foundation to honor Tampa attorney and former FBI agent James Cusack.
Opening the hotel would please scores of longtime fans, many of whom were married in the hotel or met their future spouses there.
Patty Wood, of Tampa, remembers the 1980s when there was a fad of roller-skating through happy hours in downtown bars. "I would skate over to the Floridan and just stare at it for awhile and then close my eyes and make a wish that one day it would reopen."
Later, after having kids of her own, she would drive to the hotel and tell them stories of what happened there. "The story really would come full circle should my son end up working there."
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