Make us your home page

Fenway Hotel purchase appears to unravel

The purchase of the historic Fenway Hotel, which had appeared to be a done deal, seems to be unraveling.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2011)

The purchase of the historic Fenway Hotel, which had appeared to be a done deal, seems to be unraveling.

DUNEDIN — The Fenway Hotel purchase that had appeared to be a done deal seems to be unraveling. Pennsylvania developer Christy Bower says PNC Bank, which is foreclosing on the historic but deteriorating waterfront property at 453 Edgewater Drive, stopped talking to her a month ago after a breakdown in negotiations.

The bank may have turned to the other bidder for the property, the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the United States of America, which had been pursuing a deal last summer. Neither the society, which said it was under a confidentiality agreement, nor PNC would comment. Franklin Street Management Services, the receiver appointed by a judge in 2012 to oversee upkeep during foreclosure proceedings, did not return a call seeking comment.

"We just couldn't finalize that last part of the agreement, so they're back with the tai chi group," Bower told the Tampa Bay Times Thursday. "It's not a lack of interest at all. We'll go to bat again but right now our hands are kind of tied.."

Bower and her father-turned-business partner James Bower had proposed razing the landmark and building in its place a 90-room boutique hotel featuring 1920s interiors and artifacts, about 30 waterside condos and up to 19,000 square feet of conference space. The hotel would be similar in size and retain the same look and name as the original Fenway.

In March, they said PNC had verbally accepted their offer and made the closing date contingent on final city approval. Since then, Dunedin has paved the way by approving multiple ordinance changes and the Bowers have poured "a lot" of money into architectural renderings and other criteria in anticipation of receiving the final okay this July.

The 50,000-member tai chi society last year said it hoped to renovate the property into a hotel and practice space for people attending workshops and formal instruction in tai chi, a centuries-old form of slow-moving, Chinese-influenced exercise. The international health and wellness group said its Toronto headquarters draws thousands of people a year from around the world, and the Fenway would similarly function as its U.S. hub.

Meanwhile, a group of residents and merchants — who say they prefer a public hotel and residential development that will revive the Fenway's nostalgia, boost convention tourism and generate tax revenue, unlike the private nonprofit tai chi society — are organizing an email and phone campaign demanding answers of the bank and society.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

Fenway Hotel purchase appears to unravel 05/29/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 29, 2014 11:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]