Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Two buyers vying for Belleview Biltmore, owner's representative says

BELLEAIR — Two potential buyers are vying to purchase the historic Belleview Biltmore.

And at least one of the offers is pretty serious, according to Matthew Cummings, a representative for the owner.

"I would call one of them relatively serious and another one kind of a dream," Cummings said.

He declined to disclose names, but he said one intends to restore the 115-year-old hotel. The other is in the hotel business and has built residential communities.

Town Manager Micah Maxwell said he heard that Richard Heisenbottle, the Coral Gables architect who worked for the Biltmore's previous owner, had made an offer.

Heisenbottle, who has shared plans to restore the hotel, declined to comment last week.

Cummings would not confirm Heisenbottle's involvement.

The two have notoriously had friction over the fate of the Biltmore. Cummings has said running a hotel on the site would be impossible. Heisenbottle has disagreed.

Owner Raphael Ades told the Belleair Bee that one potential buyer wants to develop townhomes on the Biltmore site and another wants to keep the site a hotel. Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, he said he was on vacation and couldn't talk.

Ades and his brother Daniel are part of a group of Miami investors that bought the hotel, its golf club and its Cabana Club on Sand Key for about $8 million in December 2010.

The hotel and the Cabana Club are listed on a commercial real estate site called LoopNet. The price for the hotel, which is classified as a residential lot, is $9 million. And the beach club is listed as a lease.

In January, the owner filed an application to raze most of the Biltmore. And a little more than a month ago, the town deemed the application incomplete.

For months, Cummings has been sharing plans to build townhomes and possibly condos on the Biltmore property. During negotiations, he said, the owner intends to pursue those plans, including the application to demolish the hotel.

If a potential buyer is "not capable of closing, we don't want to start all over again when it reverts back to us," he said.

Cummings recalls about 10 offers on the hotel. Most prospective buyers expressed wanting to build apartments. A few have been interested in assisted living facilities, but the owner hasn't entertained those offers because the town is against that option.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445- 4155.

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