Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County will let Belleair start planning Belleview Biltmore redevelopment area

Plans to restore the historic Belleview Biltmore hotel have inched another step closer to reality.

The Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday granted Belleair the authority to begin planning a Community Redevelopment Area encompassing the 20-acre hotel property.

The vote only permits Belleair officials to develop a proposal, and they will have to appear before the commission again to receive its final blessing.

A CRA is an area singled out for special revitalization efforts, and special tax policies apply.

Recent plans to rehab the Belleview Biltmore hotel, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, have been under serious discussion since April, when Richard Heisenbottle, a Coral Gables architect, signed a contract to purchase it. Before that point, it appeared likely that the hotel would be demolished.

Though they green-lighted Belleair officials' request to proceed with their planning for a CRA, county commissioners were careful to say that their vote did not represent an endorsement, and several questioned whether current guidelines would allow them to approve the final proposal.

The commission has traditionally approved CRAs in downtowns. The Belleview Biltmore is not in a downtown.

"This is a huge diversion from our normal policy," said Commissioner Susan Latvala. "And there's a further issue here … this is private property, and you would have to gauge whether a public purpose was being served."

Heisenbottle said there was no question that if the Victorian hotel was restored and reopened, residents would benefit.

"This is a really critical project for all of you," he said. "Over 10 years, just in rough estimates, this county may receive as much as $75 million in taxes from this hotel … The job creation is absolutely outstanding."

If the commission does eventually sign off on the creation of a CRA, the designation would direct any additional property taxes collected on rising values of the property to the restoration project. The funding would help cover construction costs, Heisenbottle said, adding that if the commission does not approve the redevelopment area designation by September, the project could fail.

On June 6, Belleair officials declared the hotel blighted, one of many steps that must be taken to create a CRA.

Micah Maxwell, Belleair town manager, said he expects officials to decide whether to propose a redevelopment area by July 17.

County will let Belleair start planning Belleview Biltmore redevelopment area 06/26/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.