BELLEAIR — Town commissioners received a standing ovation from about 120 local residents at Tuesday's town meeting after they approved an extension of a 2008 plan to restore the historic Belleview Biltmore.
Coral Gables architect Richard Heisenbottle and his team have a contract to buy the hotel and plan to spend about $225 million restoring it to its former glory and to renovate other resort properties, he said.
"This extension is pivotal for us being able to move forward," Heisenbottle said after the meeting.
Commissioners unanimously approved the extension of the development order, which was originally approved in 2008.
It was deferred nearly a year by a lawsuit and later extended through May of this year.
Heisenbottle and his team plan to restore virtually all of the enormous wooden structure.
He and his partners from South Florida, developer Hector Torres and tourism professional Charles J. Kropke, also attended Tuesday's meeting and shared their vision for the hotel.
The team also wants to build a new 153-room east wing in the style of the old hotel and restore the historic Magnolia, Palm and Sunset Cottages on the property.
Their plan includes more improvements to the Biltmore's golf club and the development of the Cabana Club property into a 38-room boutique hotel.