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Detroit Hotel condo owners sue over historic designation

St. Petersburg deemed the 1888 Detroit Hotel, converted to condos, a historic landmark in March. Owners say they suffered irreparable harm.

Times file photo (2006)

St. Petersburg deemed the 1888 Detroit Hotel, converted to condos, a historic landmark in March. Owners say they suffered irreparable harm.

ST. PETERSBURG — Owners of condos in the Detroit Hotel vowed they would sue the city if the Central Avenue building was given historic status.

They made good on that threat Wednesday by filing a lawsuit in Pinellas County civil court. It contends that they suffered irreparable harm and had their rights violated when the City Council designated the hotel, built in 1888, historic.

The Hotel Detroit Condominium Association argues that the historic status prevents the demolition of the four-story building that would allow owners to build a high-rise that could climb as high as 380 feet, or more than 30 stories.

The suit asks for legal fees and a revocation of the historic status but doesn't calculate the amount owners should be compensated.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the amount of damages sustained," the suit states.

Tampa lawyers David Smolker and Ethan Loeb of the law firm Bricklemyer Smolker & Bolves were listed as the association's counsel.

"We want some compensation," said Tony Amico, who owns about a third of the building. "It's easy to take property away from people when you're not financially involved."

City Attorney John Wolfe wouldn't comment, except to say he wasn't surprised that the condo owners sued. "They said they were going to do so," Wolfe said.

Staff writer Kameel Stanley contributed to this story. Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (727) 893-8037 or mvansickler@sptimes.com.

Detroit Hotel condo owners sue over historic designation 04/17/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 16, 2010 12:14pm]
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