Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Developer gets approval to renovate Dunedin's Fenway Hotel

DUNEDIN — For decades, it was a lavish hotel, living out the Jazz Age on the shores of St . Joseph Sound.

It became a college. Then it emptied. Filled at times by private schools, it sat on Edgewater Drive a relic of years past.

Now, with final approval by the Dunedin City Commission, a local developer hopes to renovate the Fenway Hotel back to the former glory of its 1920s origins.

St. Petersburg attorney and developer George Rahdert said with a little work it could become a miniature version of the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa or Renaissance Vinoy Resort, classic getaways on the National Register of Historic Places.

"For starters, they were all built in the same era," Rahdert said. "They all have the same grace and elegance. They all have the same potential."

The 5-acre property will feature at least 118 hotel rooms, a restaurant, a ballroom, a health spa, a pool and space for meeting and shops. The renovations will take "many millions of dollars" to implement, Rahdert said. But by the end of construction, the exterior, kept as close to its original yellow as possible, will remain the same.

Rahdert, who represents the St. Petersburg Times on First Amendment issues, has faced a number of obstacles in planning the renovation. His original plan, which included a two-floor parking garage and 250 rooms, was attacked by nearby home­owners for posing a possibly mammoth obtrusion to an otherwise quiet coast.

It's much smaller now — or, in Rahdert's hotel speak, "much more intimate." The compromise took more than three years of public discussion and work with the city. Rahdert said he also has included another change of plans to appease surrounding residents: a wall on all sides to keep in noise and lights.

City officials said Thursday they hope the jewel box hotel will entice tourists, travelers and their vacation spending to Dunedin's downtown and waterfront. A shuttle to Caladesi Island, a health club opened to local members and an ice cream shop may also attract local residents as well.

The Fenway needs a few more inspections and permits before crews will be able to begin work. Rahdert expects the four-star hotel could be open within 12 to 16 months. He has yet to set a price for the grandeur.

"To renovate it back to the days of old is something we really value," said Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers. "It's going to be a wonderful addition."

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Developer gets approval to renovate Dunedin's Fenway Hotel 08/21/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 21, 2009 8:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'

    Blogs

    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  2. Pumpkin pileup: Fiery crash causes mess, closes portion of I-75 in Pasco

    Accidents

    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game

    Blogs

    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?

    Blogs

    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, photo distributed on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. [Associated Press]