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Old April 21st, 2005, 12:06 AM   #1
moxwax
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TAMPA | Floridan Palace Hotel | 20 stories | 213 hotel rooms | Restoration | Completed

Floridan Hotel Slated For Luxury

From The Tampa Tribune
Published: Apr 20, 2005

TAMPA - A development company has bought the historic Floridan Hotel and plans to restore it as a luxury hotel marketed to business travelers and tourists. Lisa Shasteen, a lawyer and real estate broker representing Anotakos Floridan, LLC, said Wednesday that the company has bought the vacant hotel for $6 million and hopes to reopen it in two years. The development company is headed up by Antonios Markopoulos, a real estate investor.

Initial plans call for expanding room sizes and opening an upscale restaurant that would aim to attract city residents, tourists and guests, Shasteen said. The Floridan, at 905 N. Florida Ave., once was Florida's tallest hotel and one of its most luxurious. The hotel opened in 1927 with 400 guest rooms, a top-rated restaurant and an ornate lobby. Business began to suffer in the 1950's when new suburban lodging establishments competed for guests.

http://news.tbo.com/news/MGBSHKPZR7E.html

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Old April 21st, 2005, 12:33 AM   #2
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YEAH! Finally!
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Old April 21st, 2005, 12:34 AM   #3
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Rather surprising that ti will be redeveloped as a hotel. Especially given the somewhat shady area it is in these days. I would have figured it would have become apartments or condos.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 12:44 AM   #4
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I hope these new owners make this happen. It would a thrill to see both the Floridan and the Kress building rejuvenated in a few years' time.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 01:11 AM   #5
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Its about time. Despite a recent article against it, I think a historic boutique hotel operating in a modern city like Tampa, has big time potential. Hopefully that entire section of downtown can come back to enjoy the popularity it once had.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 02:27 AM   #6
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*crosses fingers (and toes)*
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Old April 21st, 2005, 02:37 AM   #7
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This definitely lends credence to N Franklin continuing its nascent rebirth, as this is what, 2 blocks away from Franklin?
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Old April 21st, 2005, 03:08 AM   #8
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Floridan is on the east side of Florida, one block rom Franklin and two blocks north of the Tampa Theatrer building.

Makes me happy, but I will believe it when I see it.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 03:08 AM   #9
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This is the best news I heard in a while for north downtown. I really hope they end up following through with their plans. I am definately keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 09:51 AM   #10
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The full article...


Developer Proposes Comeback For Floridan

By RANDY DIAMOND rdiamond@tampatrib.com
Published: Apr 21, 2005


TAMPA - A developer who purchased the shuttered Floridan hotel for $6 million plans to turn the downtown landmark into a luxury hotel targeting business travelers and tourists.
The development company, headed up by Antonios Markopoulos, plans to transform the deteriorated building, opened in 1927, into the top hotel in Tampa, said Lisa Shasteen, a lawyer who represents Markopoulos.

``There are plenty of hotels in town,'' Shasteen said. ``The developers plan to distinguish the Floridan from the rest of the pack.''

The development joins other hotel projects recently announced for Tampa, some also promised as luxury accommodations. At least two are planned for the downtown area. A Westin hotel is planned for a site near the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

The Floridan, now boarded up at Cass Street and Florida Avenue, has a long history in Tampa. Once an exclusive hotel, it last entertained guests in 1987 and had become a visible sign of decline in downtown's north end and for several stalled redevelopment plans.

``It had been a blight and a cloud on the downtown renaissance,'' Tampa Economic Development Director Mark Huey said.

Huey said Wednesday's announcement, along with other development plans nearby, are hopeful signs. They include, across the street from the Floridan, the old Kress building , scheduled to be turned into residential housing, and several nearby condominium projects, he said.

Past efforts to restore the hotel never materialized. Five developers in the past 25 years failed to make good on their plans.

This time is different, city officials said. Huey says developer Markopoulos appears to have the financial resources to make the project happen.

Markopoulos sold a Days Inn he owned on Clearwater Beach for $40 million in September 2004 to Tampa philanthropist Kiran C. Patel. A luxury resort is slated for the site, and Markopoulos was one of the developers of the planned resort until he sold out to Patel. It was one of the biggest real estate transactions in Pinellas County history.

Markopoulos purchased the Floridan from Capital LLC, which bought the hotel in 1997. The death last year of the company's president, Alec Land, ended the company's efforts to finance the project, said its attorney, Jim Cusack.

When the Floridan opened, it was the tallest building in Florida, and its 400 rooms were among the most luxurious in Tampa. It quickly became one of Tampa's top hotels.

The announcement of the Floridan's renovation is important because of the hotel's significance in Tampa history, said Christine Burdick, president of the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

``It's a Tampa icon,'' but in recent years it ``had become a very sad eyesore,'' she said.

The hotel could count among its guests Elvis Presley, who bunked there after a concert in 1955. Gary Cooper wooed actress Lupe Velez at the Floridan. Velez was in town to film the movie ``Hell Harbor,'' one of the first talkies.

By the 1950s, the hotel had begun to decline. Newer motor hotels in suburban Tampa became the places to stay, and the Floridan became known more for its inexpensive rates than its luxury.

In 1962, owners invested $1 million in the property, but by 1969 the hotel offered monthly or longer room rates. After a brief closing in the 1970s, there was a succession of owners.

Shasteen said it should take about two years to reopen the hotel, which will have fewer rooms, a trend when renovating older luxury hotels. It will include a fine dining establishment that will aim to attract hotel guests and Tampa residents, she said.

The Floridan renovation is the latest plan in a race to build luxury hotels in Tampa. A Fairmont hotel is planned for the Channelside district, a Westin Hotel for Courtney Campbell Parkway and a yet- to-be named luxury hotel across the Hillsborough River on Plant Avenue.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 02:25 PM   #11
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"...a yet- to-be named luxury hotel across the Hillsborough River on Plant Avenue."

OK this is news to me. Does anyone else know anything about this?
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Old April 21st, 2005, 02:29 PM   #12
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Are they talking about that hotel that is supposedly going next to Four Green Fields on Platt? I wasn't under the impressions that was going to be "luxury."

Maybe it's something else I haven't heard about.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 08:56 PM   #13
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^That was like a 2 star extended stay hotel or something, wasn't it?
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Old April 21st, 2005, 09:26 PM   #14
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I think it is the Four Green Fields job and I think it is supposed to be an Upscale suites hotel - though not too big - but that is quite far from the Floridan and would appealto another market, methinks.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 09:29 PM   #15
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I will believe it when I see it, but I like the last sentence. . .

LATEST NEWS
Tampa Bay Business Journal - 1:08 PM EDT Thursday
Floridan Hotel to be restored
The Floridan Hotel, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has been sold to Anotakos Floridan LLC.

The hotel was also designated as a City of Tampa Local Landmark in 1996. It's located at 905 N. Florida Ave.

The Floridan opened in 1927 and was the tallest building in Florida at that time, at 240 feet high. It's the only historic skyscraper from that time period remaining in downtown Tampa.

Antonios Markopoulos, the developer, plans to restore the hotel to its former grandeur. Work is scheduled to begin on the hotel immediately.
http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/...ml?t=printable
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Old April 21st, 2005, 09:46 PM   #16
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Had to revise my post as Smiley beat me to the Tampa Bay Business Journal Article stating the work to begin immediately.


As for its sucess, hip boutique hotels with destination resturants have suceeded in many large cities, even in rough or "up and coming" neighborhoods. Joire de Vire and Kimpton operate many in San Francisco that I have personal expirience with. I am sure there are many other examples. Also, and I am not trying to compare downtown Tampa with Miami Beach, but South Beach was run down and crime ridden in the 80's until a few visionaries slowly refurbished the art deco hotels and opened good restaruants in the late 80's early 90's. Downtown will never have the natural beach attributes, but a cool scene of a different variety can certainly develop. You have to start somewhere.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 02:47 AM   #17
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I personally have no doubt that if they fix it up well, it will succeed. It is unique around here. I would go there to eat and look around as long as the food is ok.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 08:44 AM   #18
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Planned Hotels Finding Skeptics
By RANDY DIAMOND rdiamond@tampatrib.com
Published: Apr 29, 2005

http://www.tampatrib.com/Business/MGBR37AQ38E.html


TAMPA - Developer Murf Klauber envisions guests at his planned 400-room Fairmont Hotel in the Channel District routinely paying $300 a night - willingly, even, because he says the hotel will bring a new standard of luxury to Tampa.

Nearby, in another part of downtown, a development company headed by hotel operator Antonios Markopoulos plans to bring back the glory days of the Floridan Hotel, built in 1927, by turning the shuttered, rotting building into a hotel unequaled in Tampa.

Their visions represent just two of five hotels planned downtown. A sixth developer has hired a consultant and also is considering a downtown hotel. The proposed projects join a 340-room Embassy Suites hotel under construction across the street from the convention center.

If all the planned hotels materialize, they will increase the number of downtown hotels from seven to 14, adding at least 1,200 rooms to the approximately 2,200 already available.

Hotel developers say high occupancy rates, a booming Tampa economy and plans to rejuvenate downtown with condo towers point to a market that can support new properties.

Although the Fairmont Hotel and the Floridan aim for the luxury market, the other three plans call for limited-service business hotels. Experts say those hotels can be highly profitable because they have limited staff and meals.

A developer is planning a limited-service Hilton Suites and a yet-to-be-named boutique hotel in the Channel district, near the Fairmont. Another limited-service boutique hotel is planned for property adjoining Four Green Fields tavern, across the Hillsborough River from downtown.

Local Developer Is Skeptical

Miami Hotel consultant Daniel O'Connor says he is working with a sixth developer who is considering renovating an existing downtown building. O'Connor said he could not provide specifics.

The hotel plans mirror those of the condominium developers, who promise to make downtown an urban center that doesn't shut down at 5 p.m.

Not everyone is a believer, despite an upward spike in business in recent years for downtown hotels. Rooms are full and rates are going up, as Tampa continues to recover from the recession and the Sept. 11 attacks, which slowed business and leisure travel.

When the slow summer months are figured in, the large number of new rooms may not be sustainable, says longtime local hotel developer Dilip Kanji.

``I'm very skeptical about new downtown hotel development,'' he says.

Kanji, who is building a waterfront Westin Hotel in Rocky Point, said he looked at downtown sites for a hotel over the past few years but decided the numbers didn't make sense. He said the market will likely support The Embassy Suites because of its location next to the convention center. Kanji also likes the boutique hotel planned near Four Green Fields, saying the 115-room facility is the right size and in a good location, across from downtown and near south Tampa.

That's where his optimism ends.

Kanji says conventioneers and business travelers drive hotel occupancy downtown. City officials rejected an expansion of the convention center last year, and combined with a lackluster downtown office market, new hotel rooms will be difficult to fill, he says.

Don't tell that to Klauber. He says naysayers told him his Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Long Boat Key would be a failure when he built it three decades ago. Instead, he says, the resort spurred a hotel building boom.

Klauber sees the same happening in Tampa. He says the waterfront area by his hotel is a gem waiting to be discovered.

``Hotel rooms in New York City cost $600 a night, '' he says, maintaining that his $300-a-night waterfront rooms will be reasonable in comparison. ``It's a bargain.''

Competition Could Be Tough

Filling rooms at top rates can be a difficult proposition, even for the most luxurious hotels, says Mary Scott, general manager of the Tampa Marriott Waterside, the city's biggest hotel, with more than 700 rooms.

Scott says hotels rarely charge their rack rate, the top rate without discounts, to business groups and conventioneers that occupy a large percentage of Tampa's downtown hotel rooms.

The Marriott has a top rate of $289 a night, but Scott estimates only about 10 percent of guests pay that rate.

Over several years, Scott believes the downtown market could absorb 1,200 more rooms. Most developers have a shorter time span of two or three years. Quicker opening could mean competition and empty rooms.

``It could be a struggle,'' she says.

Reporter Randy Diamond can be reached at (813) 259-8144.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #19
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Whatever, there are always skeptics - if you build a good product, people will come to it. . .if you note, the main skeptic is a guy building a competing hotel in another area of town . . .
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Old April 29th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #20
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Exactly. Denigrate the competition by questioning their business plan and casting doubt upon the market. Personally, I'd be surprised if all five or six hotels actually get built, but if the demand is there then why not.
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