|By Christine Hawes, The Bradenton Herald,
Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 25, 2011--BRADENTON -- After more than a year of neogiations, the city of Bradenton is finally a day away from knowing whether downtown's historic "Pink Palace" will become a Hampton Inn Suites.
The Widewaters Group, the development group seeking to renovate the 1920s-era building at Third Avenue West and Tenth Street West, on Tuesday received the first-ever formal, written offer from the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority for incentives. The offer includes $1 million in upfront payments, 15 years of tax rebates, and streetscape improvements estimated to cost between $80,000 and $110,000.
The authority's offer is $760,000 less than Widewaters had requested four months ago, and $3 million less than Widewaters' original request more than a year ago. Since conversations first began between the authority and Widewaters, the development group has been focused on seeking other kinds of help from the federal and state governments to make up the difference.
A Widewaters representative said he would know by the end of Wednesday whether the group seeking to renovate the building would accept the authority's offer.
The project is considered a potential boon to downtown Bradenton because the renovated hotel would draw about 50,000 guests annually whose extended economic impact is estimated at $2.5 million, which includes an estimated $1.25 million boost specifically to downtown Bradenton.
The project is also projected to generate 120 construction jobs and at least 35 permanent jobs, $450,000 annually in tourist taxes, $50,000 annually in school taxes and $30,000 in annual sales tax.
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