City vote could open door for Biltmore's end - FOX 13 News

City vote could open door for Biltmore's end

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Bellair city commissioners are meeting tonight to discuss the future of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, and many protesters are planning to show up.

The once majestic hotel started decaying after the roof was damaged by several hurricanes. The hotel closed its doors in 2009 and has fallen into disrepair ever since.

It's one of the most historic buildings in our area and has hosted celebrities and presidents through the years.

A developer wants to demolish the historic building and create a residential development instead, the Tampa Bay Times reported this week. There is no indication that they will try to restore any part of the original structure.

"It would be better for the town if it was restored,but we just keep hearing these stories for years now about how much they'regoing to come up with, bringing in new partners, etc.," Mayor Gary Katicatold FOX 13 this morning.  "You know,so, at some point enough is enough."

For folks like Karmen Hayes, who is trying to save the Biltmore, that's just unacceptable.

"The Biltmore can be saved," she told FOX 13 on Tuesday. "We've had experts look at it. The bones are solid. This was built with a kind of pine that turns to stone. Basically, we know it can be saved, so we're going to fight for that. We hope to make that point tonight."

The group hoping to save the Biltmore also said there is another proposal from a separate group that wants to buy the property and help restore the Biltmore. They want commissioners to consider it.

The city would need to change the zoning laws in order for these changes to happen. The initial reading is tonight at 6:30, and there will be a vote on it. If approved, there could be a second reading as soon as next month. 

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