Engineer: Parts of Belleview Biltmore salvageable, but costly
An engineering firm working for the historic Belleview Biltmore's owners estimates that 25 percent of the former hotel would have to be demolished and a "significant portion" reinforced or repaired even if a financier stepped up at this late hour to renovate it.
Mike McCarthy of Clearwater-based McCarthy and Associates Inc. inspected the Biltmore in 2011 and 2012 at the behest of the town of Belleair. This year, his firm was hired by the hotel's current owners, the Ades brothers of Miami.
While taking reporters plus Mayor Gary Katica and Ades attorney Ed Armstrong through the hotel this month, McCarthy pointed to black mold that so pervasively covers the ceilings and walls that he said several of McCarthy's engineers have fallen ill.
The engineer ran his feet over sloped floors that he said would endanger hotel guests who are disabled or use wheelchairs. Empty beer containers, mattresses, televisions, dead rodents and other debris fill the halls and rooms - evidence of decay and occasional squatters. Some rooms have holes that provide a glimpse of the floor above or below.Read the full report and watch video of the tour here.