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New owners say sale, development of Belleview Biltmore not in immediate plans

The Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa is in poor condition and has been shuttered since June 2009.

Special to the Times

The Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa is in poor condition and has been shuttered since June 2009.

BELLEAIR — The new owners of the Belleview Biltmore aren't in a hurry to sell or develop the property.

Raphael Ades said he's figuring out what it will cost to maintain the hotel long term while his team looks for a buyer or a partner to develop it.

And saving the historic hotel, he said, is not out of the question.

"It's not a plain vanilla deal," Ades said. "We need a really professional, smart buyer to put a deal together."

The group plans to market all of the hotel's properties as a package to potential buyers or developers. They include a golf club on Indian Rocks Road and the Cabana Club on Sand Key.

Meanwhile, neighbors who opposed the previous owner's plan for a six-floor beachfront hotel on the Biltmore's Cabana Club property in Clearwater can breathe a temporary sigh of relief.

"For the moment, nothing is going to happen," Ades said of the Cabana Club. "We'll just maintain the property so it isn't nasty and doesn't bother the neighbors."

Ades met with Sand Key neighbors earlier this month. Cynthia Remley, a member of the neighborhood group, said Ades informed them that he and his partners are not developers and they don't have plans to develop the hotel or Cabana Club right now.

She said neighbors felt that the project proposed by the previous owner was too large for the site and provided too few parking spaces.

Rae Claire Johnson, a Belleair resident who fought to preserve the hotel, said Ades' group has been cooperative. Both she and Ades, who's from Miami, were at the golf club on Wednesday morning.

"They're working with us to find a solution to save the hotel," she said.

Last week, historic property developer Allan Affeldt met with the owners and toured the Biltmore, which has been shuttered since June 2009.

Affeldt said he's looking for a project, but hasn't made any decisions.

"It's going to be a very daunting project because of the condition of the building," said Affeldt, who restored and owns a historic hotel in Arizona called La Posada.

The Biltmore, the golf club and the Cabana Club are listed separately on a commercial real estate website. Betsey Lurie of Florida Growth Realty, the contact on the listing, didn't return a call for comment by press time. The listing says it was verified on Jan. 11.

But Ades, whose group bought the properties for $8.3 million last month, insisted he knew nothing about that listing. He said they don't have immediate plans to sell the properties.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at lorri@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4155.

New owners say sale, development of Belleview Biltmore not in immediate plans 01/20/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 20, 2011 7:34pm]
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