|By Hannah Sampson, The Miami
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 06, 2012--A Miami partnership plans to restore the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel near Clearwater.
Belleview Biltmore Partners signed a purchase and sale agreement with property owner Kawa Capital on March 31. The group would not disclose any financial details; the agreement allows six months for due diligence and closing of the deal.
The partnership includes architect Richard Heisenbottle, real estate developer Hector Torres and tourism entrepreneur Charles Kropke.
Built in 1897, the hotel in Belleair was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It has been closed since 2009.
Plans call for construction of a new wing with 153 rooms and restoration of the existing 260-room hotel and three cottages. The Cabana Club area would become a 38-room boutique hotel, The Biltmore Golf Club, which is still operating, would also get upgrades.
Sections of the hotel that are not part of the historic designation, including the lobby and spa, would not remain.
The project is expected to take as many as three years to finish, the group said. Restoration will require careful adherence to historic preservation guidelines, said Kropke, who is also working to bring back the old Chalk's Ocean Airways and plans to launch Windjammer Sailing Adventures in May using one of the vessels from the former Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.
"There's nothing that I would rather do than to make sure that one of the treasures of Florida is protected and carried forward," he said of the Gulf Coast hotel.
(c)2012 The Miami Herald
Visit The Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services