Sunday, February 18, 2018
Business

Luxury hotel linked to Bern's, Marriott to rise across from Tampa steak house

SOHO — It was a grand vision of fine dining and elegant living that was shelved four years ago.

But a Bern's-inspired luxury boutique hotel is back on the design board and expected to break ground this fall, bringing with it another SoHo restaurant, bar and spa across from the iconic Howard Avenue steak house.

The $32.5 million four-story project is being pitched as a boutique hotel with 145 rooms priced at about $200 a night. Named the Epicurean, the hotel is being built on the 2.3-acre parking lot site of Bern's as a partnership between Bern's and Mainsail Lodging and Development.

It will be marketed as part of Marriott's Autograph Collection.

"We're looking forward to opening this product because it's so unique and so different," said Norwood Smith, vice president of sales and marketing for Mainsail, based in Tampa.

The hotel's first floor will feature a full-service spa, health club, wine shop, bakery and a demonstration kitchen where Bern's, SideBern's and guest chefs can hold culinary classes and events. The hotel will include a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and a rooftop bar and cocktail area.

"For such a small footprint and boutique property," Smith said, "we're expecting a huge relationship with the local residents."

Doug McClain, vice president of marketing and communications for Tampa Bay & Co., the visitors bureau, said the hotel fills a need in Tampa for an upscale hotel for tourists while also creating jobs and more dining choices for SoHo.

"I've seen some of the renderings of the property," he said, "and I really think it's really going to hit a sweet spot for Tampa Bay."

Many of the concepts included in the blueprint were part of the first iteration of the project, a "condo hotel" dreamt up by Bern's Steak House owner David Laxer. But the 2007 project was unable to secure financing when the economy crashed a year later. Under the condo-hotel concept, owners buy units, get access to them for 45 days a year and then get a percentage of room rental profits.

Although initial interest was high, only a few buyers signed contracts for the proposed 75 rooms and suites that were being offered for $200,000 and up. Only a parking garage was built.

"We stopped the project," Bern's spokeswoman Brooke Palmer said. "You don't open a condo ownership hotel in 2008 when the economy is bad."

Mainsail, brought aboard as a development partner, helped refashion the project into a boutique hotel that will carry Marriott's brand. Mainsail also operates an apartment complex and the Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Town 'N Country, as well as properties on Anna Maria Island, Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands, and the Marriott ExecuStay corporate housing franchises in the U.S. Southeast.

Floor plans are being finalized, Smith said. The Bern's culinary team has been meeting with developers to design the hotel's kitchens and restaurant, Palmer said.

Epicurean's development team expects to break ground in August, Smith said, with an opening slated for November 2013.

Justin George can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3368.

Comments

Open-mic night at Pilars is a hot spot for Disney talent

WINTER GARDEN — At the end of the day, when the tourists are gone, Disney performers head out to their favorite spot to keep on singing after their shifts are over. Every Thursday, they perform at open-mic night at Pilars, a Winter Garden martini bar...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Gofundme.com pages proliferated almost as soon as cops took Nikolas Cruz into custody after Wednesday’s 17-death massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Donors must parse the funding pages from the fraudulent.Read More: 17 dead,...
Published: 02/18/18
Suffolk tops off Manor Riverwalk project

Suffolk tops off Manor Riverwalk project

Building contractor Suffolk topped off the north tower of its Manor Riverwalk project on Friday.The luxury rental community will replace the old Tampa Tribune building at 202 S Parker Street. Once complete, the project will include an eight-story wat...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

Trump administration recommends stiff penalties on steel, aluminum imports

The Tampa arm of Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau S.A. was cautiously optimistic Friday after the Trump administration took a big step toward a policy Gerdau has been vocally advocating for — higher tariffs on imported steel. "We’re hopeful that President...
Published: 02/16/18
Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Facebook forges ahead with kids app despite expert criticism

Associated PressNEW YORK — Facebook is forging ahead with its messaging app for kids, despite child experts who have pressed the company to shut it down and others who question Facebook’s financial support of some advisers who approved of the app. Me...
Published: 02/16/18
Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Inexpensive Tampa Bay homes gain the most value of any in U.S.

Owners of affordable homes in the Tampa Bay region are seeing the biggest gains in equity among the nation’s top 20 housing markets. A bay area home now worth $110,000 rose 20 percent in value over the past year while a house now worth $337,400 incr...
Published: 02/16/18
Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

Amid CareerSource controversy, allegations of a love affair, big raises and family favoritism at the top

The anonymous letter described a possible love affair at the top of the local jobs center. President and CEO Edward Peachey was in a romantic relationship with top administrator Haley Loeun, it said.It described how Loeun was seen at a conference co...
Published: 02/16/18
Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s experimenting with takeout-only locations

Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill have become household names in casual dining. Now, their parent company, Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands is taking the "dining" part out in a concept that it’s bringing to Tampa Bay for the first time. A ne...
Published: 02/16/18
Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

Which Tampa Bay ZIPs had the priciest, least expensive and most house sales in 2017?

If you bought or sold a house in Tampa Bay last year, you were a player in one of Florida’s hottest real estate markets.Even though prices eased a bit from their torrid pace in 2016, the median cost of a single family home shot up 11 percent. That’s ...
Published: 02/16/18
Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Florida’s liquor license lottery can make you a ton of money. So why is it such a secret?

Every year, millions of people play the Florida Lotto. Their chances of winning are about as great as those of being struck by a comet. Fewer than 12,000 enter a much lesser known lottery that also is run by the state. Yet the odds of winning are vas...
Published: 02/16/18