Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

Hotel in Hudson would jump-start development along U.S. 19

HUDSON — A dormant development project is being resurrected with a planned hotel on vacant land northwest of U.S. 19 and State Road 52.

The four-story, 110-room hotel would be on land held by Bayonet Point Holdings, a company owned by Hudson businessman and hotelier Vijay Patel. The company acquired multiple parcels totaling nearly 76 acres, formerly owned by Mid-Peninsula Realty Investment Group, at a June 2016 foreclosure auction.

Preliminary plans call for the hotel to be built on vacant land north of the existing Bealls-anchored Point Plaza shopping center, and south of the U.S. 19-Beacon Woods Drive intersection. The proposal includes a frontage road and four out parcels for retail development that would face U.S. 19.

Patel's representatives — an engineer and planner from the Avid Group — are scheduled to meet with Pasco County planners Jan. 17 to discuss preliminary plans for the project.

If completed, the hotel would be the first built on U.S. 19 in Pasco since a Fairfield Inn and Suites went up in Holiday in 2011. That was part of a burst of hotel-building activity along the U.S. 19 corridor in which companies also constructed a Hampton Inn and Suites and a Homewood Suites across the street from each other, north of Port Richey.

Neither Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, who heads the Tourist Development Council, nor Commissioner Jack Mariano, whose district includes the planned hotel site, were aware of the proposed development.

"Interesting,'' Starkey said. "I know our hotels there stay quite busy, and it's great to see development on U.S. 19.''

"That's great,'' echoed Mariano.

Redeveloping the aging U.S. 19 corridor, in an area dubbed the Harbors, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico east to Little Road, is a long-term goal of the county's. A hotel likely would boost prospects for other retail activity in the vicinity. To the south, the Bayonet Plaza, for instance, lost Publix as one of its anchors in 2009. The business immediately north of the proposed hotel is an adult video store and theater.

Patel's property is part of a project once called the Bayonet Point Shopping Mall, approved by the Pasco County Commission in 1974. The initial entitlements included nearly 1.2 million square feet of commercial shopping space, but the development order has been amended multiple times since. In 2009, the former owners applied to drop nearly 490,000 square feet of retail space to allow alternative uses, including 500 multi-family housing units, a hotel and offices.

Patel said he planned to start the development with smaller businesses and hoped to add housing and additional, larger stores in the future. Patel's other companies control a wholesale oil distributorship, multiple convenience store-gas stations, hotels and other businesses in Florida and elsewhere. He is a partner in the venture building the Holiday Inn Express hotel next to the Florida Hospital Center Ice complex in Wesley Chapel.

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