Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

Tampa businessman is exploring purchase of Belleview Biltmore

BELLEAIR — For weeks, the owners of the Belleview Biltmore have remained quiet about the identity of potential buyers they said were interested in purchasing the local landmark.

But on Wednesday, Tampa businessman Santosh Govindaraju acknowledged he's made an offer on the hotel properties.

In fact, last week, while current owner Daniel Ades was trying to convince Belleair leaders to lift a lien on one of those properties, the Cabana Club on Sand Key, Govindaraju was in the Belleair Town Hall audience watching him get grilled.

Ades and his Miami partners bought the historic Belleview Biltmore hotel, its golf club and its beach Cabana Club for about $8 million in December 2010.

Govindaraju won't say how much he has offered, but he did say he's exploring options for the Biltmore site, including how much, if any, of the 115-year-old hotel can be saved.

"We want to do all of the research up front and then we want to create a game plan," said Govindaraju, portfolio manager for Convergent Capital Partners LLC, a real estate private equity firm.

His offer is for all three of the hotel properties, but he doesn't want to speculate about what his team might do with the Biltmore until he knows for sure.

"When we say we're going to do something, we do it," said Govindaraju, 36, former chairman of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce's board of directors.

He's planning to spend about $200,000 to research the investment. If he and the owners reach a contract, he said, his group has the financial strength to follow through.

"Many other parties don't have the capital," Govindaraju said. "We're very well capitalized."

Early in his career, Govindaraju worked as a trader at Lehman Brothers in New York. In the late 1990s, he returned to Tampa and founded Paragon Capital Partners LLC.

Govindaraju's companies have invested in various hospitality, retail, townhome and condo projects in the Tampa Bay area. Convergent owns the Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club in Carrollwood.

Matthew Cummings, a representative for the owners, told the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month that two parties were vying to purchase the Biltmore.

Earlier this month, Belleair's town manager said he heard that Richard Heisenbottle, the Coral Gables architect who worked for the Biltmore's previous owner, had made an offer.

Heisenbottle declined comment on Wednesday.

News researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Lorri Helfand can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4155.

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