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$8 million buys Belleview Biltmore, assets

BELLEAIR — The new owner of the Belleview Biltmore said his group paid a little more than $8 million to buy the hotel and its assets.

The hotel's assets include the historic Biltmore, its 136-acre golf club on Indian Rocks Road and the Cabana Club on Sand Key.

Raphael Ades, a Miami investor, said he plans to work full time after the new year to deal with the hotel's roof problems and improve the golf club.

A lien was filed by the town of Belleair last year after the owner was fined for the hotel's dilapidated roof.

"We bought the properties with this problem," Ades said. "We think we can solve the problem with the right time and dedication."

At Tuesday night's town meeting, Roger Schwenke, an attorney representing Ades and his partners, said his clients wanted to meet one on one with individual commissioners to discuss the lien.

Schwenke had previously asked town leaders to consider lifting the lien if his client put aside $200,000 in an escrow account for roof repairs. Tuesday, he said his clients may modify their request.

He said the matter didn't need to be rushed because his clients had closed on the property.

Mayor Gary Katica said he looked forward to meeting with them and moving things along.

"It's been too long of a time that there have been cyclone fences around properties that are very valuable in the area," Katica said.

The owner got control of the property by buying the mortgage, which was originally $26.8 million, records show.

On Wednesday, special warranty deeds in lieu of foreclosure were recorded for the hotel and golf club. The deeds are between the new owners, BB Golf LLC and BB Hotel LLC, and Belleview Biltmore Owner LLC, a company created by the former owner, Latitude Management Real Estate Investors.

A leasehold estate assignment agreement in lieu of foreclosure also was filed for the Cabana Club property on Sand Key. The Biltmore has a 100-year lease on the Cabana Club property that extends through 2182 and is automatically renewable for another 100 years.

Rae Claire Johnson, a resident who has fought for the restoration of the hotel, said she has spoken with the new owners and trusts their intentions.

"I think they're very ethical people who want to do the right thing by the property and the people of Belleair," Johnson said. "So far I've been impressed by the way they've handled things.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

$8 million buys Belleview Biltmore, assets 12/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 7:58pm]
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