News for the Hospitality Executive
A Second Chance for an Historic Gilded Age Hotel - Plans
Unveiled for Restoration
BELLEAIR, FL (April 17) – In a major step toward giving the storied Belleview Biltmore Resort a second chance at greatness, Belleview Biltmore Partners, LLC recently unveiled its plan to restore the 115-year-old historic landmark to its regal splendor.
“Our vision for the Belleview Biltmore Hotel and Resort is rooted in the magical experiences of historic Gilded Age hotels,” said architect Richard J. Heisenbottle, FAIA, at a morning meeting with the Town of Belleair Ad Hoc Belleview Biltmore Committee, which advises the town on Biltmore-related matters. “Our goal is to give the Belleview Biltmore a second chance at greatness. With its distinctive Victorian architecture and prime Gulf Coast location, an accurate restoration of the entire facility will ensure its preeminence among worldwide luxury resorts.”
Built in 1897 by railroad tycoon Henry B. Plant, the Belleview Biltmore has hosted world leaders, U.S. presidents and hundreds of celebrities through the decades. It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1979, closed in 2009, and is now one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s most endangered sites.
On March 31, Belleview Biltmore Partners, LLC signed a purchase and sale agreement with Kawa Capital, the hotel’s current owner, for acquisition of the hotel, golf course, and cabana club properties. This agreement gives Belleview Biltmore Partners six months to perform due diligence and close on the purchase. "Belleview Biltmore Partners has demonstrated it is the only party with the capability of restoring the hotel,” said Daniel Ades, principal of Kawa Capital Management. “As we promised from the first day we acquired the property, we are going out of our way in trying to make the restoration of the hotel possible by providing unprecedented financing and a very extended due diligence period so that the project can materialize.”
In addition to Heisenbottle, Belleview Biltmore Partners, LLC’s principals include real estate developer Hector Torres, CGC, and entrepreneur and tourism professional Charles J. Kropke. Belleview Biltmore Partners is represented in this transaction by the Miami based Investment Banking Firm, CGI Merchant Group, its CEO Raoul Thomas and Senior Associate Nelson Garcia.
“We all share a passion for historic restoration projects and recognize the worldwide significance of saving the Belleview Biltmore,” said Kropke. “Our goal is to create one of the nation’s finest destination resorts, and one that will be unequalled on the west coast of Florida.”
Belleview Biltmore Partners plans, presented today to the town committee, envision a complete historic restoration of the hotel in compliance with standards set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. The redevelopment plan for the property will remain substantially the same as illustrated in three previously approved development orders for prior owners Legg Mason Real Estate Investors.
Redevelopment plans include restoration of the historic 260-room hotel, construction of a new 153-room east wing, and restoration of the historic Magnolia, Palm, and Sunset Cottages. The plan also includes improvements to the Biltmore Golf Club, which has remained open, and development of the beachfront Cabana Club property into a 38-room boutique hotel. All structures on the hotel property that do not contribute to the hotel’s historic designation will be removed, including the existing lobby and spa.
“This restoration will revive the Biltmore’s exceptional architecture and design features of a century ago, providing guests with a unique experience in a luxurious, amenity-rich Florida setting,” said Torres. “With our restoration plan, the Belleview Biltmore will offer a unique fusion of the present and the past – truly the best of both worlds.” He estimates the project would take three years to complete and generate approximately 4,500 temporary and permanent jobs.
“We plan on working closely with the Town of Belleair, City of Clearwater, Pinellas County, the Belleair Country Club and area residents to make this dream a reality,” said Heisenbottle. “With everyone’s assistance, cooperation and support, we can restore one of the grandest historic hotels in the world to its former glory.”
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Group, Belleview Biltmore Partners, Enter Sales Agreement to Purchase
the Belleview Biltmore Hotel near Clearwater, Florida with Plans for
Property Restoration and a 153-room Addition / April 2012