Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Belleview Biltmore, Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens celebrate at fundraiser

BELLEAIR — The buildings have no roof shingles, the paint is peeling and the carpet is worn. Inside, there is a noticeably musty smell.

But the more than 500 people who gathered Sunday at the Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa didn't care about the current condition of the facilities. They were there to celebrate the rich history of the hotel and raise money for a good cause.

Sunday marked the final event before the historic hotel closes for a three-year renovation. "Back to the Future," a benefit for the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, featured tours of the hotel, themed ballrooms with dancing, live bands and an auction.

When members of the UPARC Board of Trustees learned the hotel was slated to close for renovations, they approached Martin Smith, managing director and vice president of the resort, and asked if they could host a party on the eve of its closure.

"What a fun opportunity for us to showcase the history of this hotel," said event co-chairman Chris Daily. "The response has been fabulous."

Known as "The White Queen of the Gulf," the hotel was built in 1897 for transportation magnate Henry B. Plant. It was purchased in 2007 by Legg Mason Real Estate Investors Inc.

Renovation plans include taking the hotel back to the way it looked in the late 1930s, both inside and out, Smith said.

"The biggest change people will notice on the outside is that there will 700 parking spaces underground and a 22-acre park surrounding the hotel," he said. "Back in 1897 when the hotel was built, there were no automobiles."

Sunday's event raised more than $75,000 for UPARC, and Smith said he promised the board that the first fundraising event held when the hotel opens again will also benefit the agency.

John and Mariette Holcombe of Indian Shores and their daughter, Tracy, 32, attended the event. John Holcombe is a board member, and Tracy is a UPARC consumer who currently works for the agency as a cleaning person.

"I like UPARC," she said. "They have helped me a lot."

Belleview Biltmore, Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens celebrate at fundraiser 06/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 8:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact Florida: Claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong

    State Roundup

    President Donald Trump's unfounded allegations that millions voted illegally in 2016 is back in the news, with his supporters pointing to a new analysis that claims millions of undocumented immigrants voted in 2008.

    Instances of noncitizens voting have been reported, but evidence points to a small number among millions of votes cast.  
  2. For Fourth of July, an American feast inspired by founding father Alexander Hamilton

    Cooking

    Are there a million things you haven't done? Is one of them throwing a patriotic party inspired by one of the founding fathers?

    Caribbean Pork With Potato Salad makes for the perfect Fourth of July meal.
  3. 'Baby Driver' literally turns heist movie genre on its ear, set to slick soundtrack

    Movies

    Buckle up for Baby Driver, a movie so full throttle cool that you want to fist bump the screen. Style is the substance of Edgar Wright's inventive heist flick, a fresh, masterful synching of music and getaway mayhem, as if La La Land's traffic jam was moving, armed and dangerous.

    Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for heist arranger Doc (Kevin Spacey). Plagued by tinnitus, Baby tunes out his distracting “hum in the drum” by listening to music while he drives.
Sony Pictures
  4. Former mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor
  5. Life after HB7069 to be discussed at Pinellas school district workshop

    Blogs

    The Pinellas County school district is still trying to navigate life after the controversial passage of HB7069.