Final hearing on Belleview Biltmore hotel on Tuesday - WFLA News Channel 8

Final hearing on Belleview Biltmore hotel on Tuesday

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Belleview Biltmore Hotel Belleview Biltmore Hotel
The second and final public hearing on the fate of the Belleview Biltmore hotel is scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The group Save the Biltmore is urging people to come out and make their voices heard at the Belleair Town Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m.  The group hopes to delay the zoning changes, then plead with officials to save the hotel.

At the first hearing on January 21st, the town commission voted to delay a vote on zoning changes by 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.

Tuesday's hearing will be held at Belleair Town Hall.  It is located at 901 Ponce de Leon Blvd.  The hearing starts at 5:30 p.m.

(Information from Melissa Beckman was used in this report)

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