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Old January 10th, 2007, 12:53 AM   #101
John F
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Hey, we have a ton of residents supposedly moving downtown imminently, when there folks visit they will need a place nearby to stay...

Thus all the hotel space

Really, Jasonhouse hit on a point with the hotels and the convention center. While the Convention center serves a purpose still -- the fact the HCBCC won't fund roof repairs makes the city and the region look amateurish in the eyes of conventioneers and attendees.

I wonder if anyone in the city or county has ever floated locations for a new, expanded (and further expandable) convention center somewhere in the city?
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Old January 10th, 2007, 01:14 PM   #102
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The fairgrounds wouldn't be a bad location for a convention center. That area would just need a few more hotels. They already have that annex building that doesn't do much throughout the year that I know. Possibly an expansion in that vacinity could work. Unless the current Convention Center can and is willing to build up more.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 03:38 PM   #103
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Part of the attraction of our convention center is its location on the bay. Without the bay, I doubt we'd receive as many conventions.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #104
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Agreed. Plus, conventioneers prefer amenities like hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options within easy walking distance of conv. centers.

I also find it difficult to imagine talking about building a new convention center when our collective governments are having such a hard time maintaining the center that we have already.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 04:58 PM   #105
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I cannot see building a new convention center, much less out in the fairgrounds area unless we really want to give conventioneers a bad taste for Tampa. That area, even with the Ford Amp and the Hard Rock is not exactly what I think of as desirable. It is sort of a low income borderland to industry and eastern Hills suburban sprawl.

The existing location has a presence to it and perhaps there will be a way to expand it either up or out as needed. What was done with the Orange County Convention Center comes to mind, where the 2nd structure was built across the street and connected by elevated walkways. Actually, aside from not liking the architecture of the OC Conv Center, I really like the internal layout and function of it. It is just a shame that space is so limited surrounding our convention center now.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaFuture View Post
The fairgrounds wouldn't be a bad location for a convention center. That area would just need a few more hotels. They already have that annex building that doesn't do much throughout the year that I know. Possibly an expansion in that vacinity could work. Unless the current Convention Center can and is willing to build up more.
That'd be horrendous.

Besides the Hard Rock hotel and casino, there is nothing around the fairgrounds substantial enough to keep conventioners interested. You don't build a convention center outside of the city. You build iit in the city.
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Old January 10th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #107
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I would suggest the land in between the Mariott and Embassy Suites which sits directly in front of the parking garage. This would enable to Convention Center to still be "centered" in this district as well as expand out and up. Another consideration could be the land (roughly a city block) where Fuel and other smaller offices sit. If the city purchased this land, they could expand in that direction and maybe even over to the vacant lots across from the Selmon therefore bringing the center closer to the center of downtown. There are plenty of vacant lots in that area and being that there is not a whole lot going on there now, WHY NOT???
This would help trigger addtional retail development in the area and still keep the core convention business in the CBD next to the hotels?
Thoughts?
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Old January 10th, 2007, 09:10 PM   #108
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I see the Floridan as becoming the home base of the Performing Arts Center and parties/conferences built around that.
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Old January 11th, 2007, 03:06 AM   #109
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The lot is not big enough unless you are talking going vertical.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #110
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Does anyone have any updates on the renovation of the Floridan? I haven't heard anything lately and I keep looking for signs of life on the Skypoint webcam...
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Old March 18th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #111
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You are not alone on that Casey. I look for it too and can't notice anything...
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Old March 18th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #112
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Negatory, was down there shooting yesterday and I could not see any signs of life in the Floridian. I think its another dead in the water project.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 07:01 PM   #113
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uh oh...

Maybe they are having 2nd thoughts, what with all of the existing and coming hotel competition dt, and all of the surrounding development potentially killing views... But like we've all noted before, this hotel would be truly unique in the market, and should do pretty well if they can position themselves to serve the business market and still remain attractive to tourists looking for nostalgic charm and service.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #114
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They should build a few other hotels like this because this is an amazing building.
I think Tampa is moving too far away from its roots you know? I really would like to have a skyline with more than steel and glass.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #115
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No, they are working on it. IF you look closely the open windows change. Some of the windows have been rehabbed. Lots interior work to do and some days the light goes all the way through the building (gutted floors). Patience.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 06:58 AM   #116
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I walk by the floridan everyday and they are always working on the building. they are doing walls and ceilings. I have seen them putting in new frame work for walls recently. If you go by there during the day you can see work being done
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Old March 20th, 2007, 09:21 AM   #117
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There has been frame work done. I have seen them personally doing some work. I have seen the metal framing of a great multitude of floors.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 03:25 AM   #118
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well, thankfully that was just some smoke up our collective asses...
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 07:35 PM   #119
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Not a lot of new info in this article, but at the least it does confirm that everything is reportedly on track for the Floridan's rehab.
http://www.tampasdowntown.com/newsletter.aspx?newid=69

THE FLORIDAN: PHOENIX RISING

By: Gary Shepherd

In 1956, after playing a gig at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory, Elvis Presley stayed at the Floridan Hotel in north downtown Tampa. Other guests during the hotel’s glory days included heavyweight boxers Max Baer and Primo Carnera, big-shot businessmen, politicians like Florida Senator Claude Pepper, and some shady characters, too.

Developer A.J. Simms, also responsible for New Suburb Beautiful and Parkland Estates neighborhoods, built the hotel. The 170,000-square foot structure is the sole skyscraper left from Tampa’s early-century land boom, and the Georgian Revival/Beaux Arts landmark was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The 20-story hotel was the tallest building in Florida when it opened in 1927, and it became the region’s hottest nightspot for decades. Anybody who was anybody danced in the Sapphire Room, drank in the lobby bar, and ate in the magnificent dining room.

“I met a lot of nice people – and a lot of people who weren’t so nice, too” says Gus Aroncebia, bartender and then head bartender from 1942-1959. “The Crystal Room was the prettiest dining room in Tampa. And the Sapphire Room was the place to go. People used to call it the ‘sure-fire room,’ ” says Aroncebia with a laugh.

Aroncebia, now 92, looks forward to revisiting the Floridan as early as next New Year’s Eve. That is the ambitious reopening target set by the new owner, Anotakos Floridan, LLC. Principal Antonios “Tony” Markopoulos bought the Floridan for $6 million in 2005 after selling some Clearwater properties for $40 million. Markopoulos is the latest of several owners who have sought to revamp the building.

The Floridan – whose sister hotels include the Waldorf-Astoria in Midtown Manhattan – began a slow decline in the 1960s; it was boarded up in 1989. Since then, the 240-foot-tall, 426-room building has attracted rooftop vultures and attendant splatter, dust, and debris. The brick building presents a decrepit sight to employees at the federal courthouse just south of the hotel.

But Markopoulos is determined to succeed, says his lawyer, Lisa Shasteen. In addition to the $6 million hotel buy, Markopoulos spent about $4.3 million more to accumulate additional downtown property – all of the block where the Floridan is situated and three-quarters of the next block to the east. Markopoulos plans hundreds of parking spaces, a pool, a spa, and careful revitalization to restore the hotel’s original beauty.

The new Floridan will have about 212 larger guest rooms, including eight to 12 suites and two penthouses, says Shasteen. It will have two barrooms and two restaurants, including a 3,000-square-foot formal dining room, plus meeting rooms, and other amenities. It will be independent and not fly a chain-hotel flag, says Shasteen.

Markopoulos – a camera-shy native of Greece and a veteran of the hospitality industry in Canada and the U.S. – is “an unbelievably hands-on guy,” says Shasteen. He’s on site most days checking work done by carpenters, electricians, and other tradespeople. Markopoulos is funding the project himself, so there is no set budget, says Shasteen. The architect is Morris Baptiste of Pinellas County.

The downtown community will see more exterior work soon, says Shasteen. Canopies will adorn the Floridan above Florida Avenue and Cass Street, roadway cut-ins will be created, and stamped asphalt will be used to simulate brick sidewalks. With city approval, parking meters may be removed, a “blade” sign above the Florida/Cass corner will be bolted in place, and the original neon roof sign will be relit.

And what about the planned gala, which is sure to be a hot ticket – will the Floridan be ready for its New Year’s Eve unveiling? “It can be done if everyone stays on schedule,” says Shasteen.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 09:36 PM   #120
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The newly placed signs are something I'll really be excited about to see.
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