Vote on fate of Belleview Biltmore hotel delayed - WFLA News Channel 8

Vote on fate of Belleview Biltmore hotel delayed

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Belleview Biltmore Hotel Belleview Biltmore Hotel
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Belleair Town Commission has decided to table a vote on what should happen to the property where the aging Belleview Biltmore Hotel stands.

On Tuesday night, the commission agreed to table a vote for six months.

The hotel, which was built by Henry Plant in 1895, closed in 2009. The huge wooden structure has sat empty and decaying ever since.

Belleair Mayor Gary Katica says a local developer is under contract to buy it from the current owners, with plans to tear it down to build condos and townhomes.

"We don't need them here," said Karmen Hayes of Save the Biltmore. "We don't want it covered up in concrete. This is a very precious, historic hotel."

Hayes says several experts believe the hotel can be restored and several purchasers have expressed interest. Katica says none have come forward with cash and, at this point, it would take a miracle to save the hotel.

"There has to be someone out there that sees what the Biltmore is and what it was and wants to invest $196 million," said Katica.

Katica says the town loses about $800,000 each year the hotel sits empty.

"That's lost tax money, lost utilities money and other things. It just can't go on," he said.

The property is currently zoned for a hotel and high-end single family homes. The commission will decide Tuesday if the zoning should be changed to allow condos and townhomes.

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