A 120-room extended-stay hotel is planned near Fifth Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S, near Bayfront Medical Center and Tropicana Field.
With an estimated price tag that is upwards of $20 million, Menna Development & Management Inc. said plans are still being developed, but developers hope to break ground this summer and open in late 2010 or early 2011, making the project the first hotel in Midtown.
Anthony Menna, owner and president of Menna Development said he hopes to see the hotel help with the revitalization of the area, which is made up of many older buildings.
"We certainly plan to improve our neighborhood," he said. The hotel is planned to be six or seven stories and have an urban architecture.
"The hotel is going to be very urban in style, so that when you drive by on the interstate, you feel like you're in a city," said Menna.
He stressed the numerous amenities that extended-stay hotels feature. Some of the amenities Menna mentioned for the Midtown project were food and beverage facilities, an assembly space, a swimming pool and fitness center, a laundry service, shuttle and limo services and even the possibility of personal shoppers.
"Extended-stay hotel markets provide for amenities like basketball courts and we're actually putting it on the roof, so it's going to feel like being in Midtown," said Menna.
While having a hotel of any kind in Midtown would be a perk to the business community, reaction to the project has been lukewarm.
"I'm still optimistic that we will be able to build that venue," said Goliath Davis, deputy mayor for economic development. "My apprehension is that the financing may not be readily available," said Davis, adding "that project has been on the drawing board for quite some time."
The hotel is expected to draw much of its business from the medical facilities in the area, such as All Children's Hospital and Bayfront Medical Center. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg, the Poynter Institute and Tropicana Field are expected to be other guest generators for the hotel.
Aminie Mohip, the director of development at Menna Development, compared the extended-stay hotel room to a small apartment.
"Generally extended-stay hotels have cooking facilities in the room, along with separate living and sleeping areas," Mohip said.
Mohip said they are also helping with the renovation of Campbell Park and the completion of the Pinellas Trail. Mohip said the hotel will also help generate jobs in the Midtown area.
Mohip said, "We generally like to get employees from the local neighborhoods to help people that don't have a car or available transportation. We're looking at probably creating between 40 and 60 jobs."
The hotel doesn't have a brand yet, but Menna plans to target the best product for their market.
Steven Santoro is a reporter for the Neighborhood News Bureau, a program of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.