Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Developer seeks demolition permit for Belleview Biltmore hotel

The Belleview Biltmore hotel, which closed in 2009, was known as the “White Queen of the Gulf.” It housed presidents, celebrities and generations of Pinellas County residents and guests.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2011)

The Belleview Biltmore hotel, which closed in 2009, was known as the “White Queen of the Gulf.” It housed presidents, celebrities and generations of Pinellas County residents and guests.

BELLEAIR — The St. Petersburg developer pursuing the purchase of the Belleview Biltmore filed applications Friday asking the town to approve his requests that the hotel be demolished, the site rezoned and his vision for condos, townhomes and a boutique hotel approved.

Attorney Ed Armstrong filed six computer boxes, each containing a copy of the more-than-300-page packet plus exhibits, on behalf of JMC Communities founder Mike Cheezem, who is in the process of buying the hotel from Miami investors Daniel and Raphael Ades for $6.6 million.

The documents include a preliminary development plan, application for a demolition permit based on "economic hardship" and a request that town commissioners change the property's hotel and single family-only zoning to a mixed-use designation recently added to town code.

Cheezem plans to build a 33-room inn with meeting space and a small pub that mimics the original hotel, plus 132 upscale residential units spread across four mid-rise condo buildings containing up to 26 units each and 28 townhomes. There would be 359 parking spaces.

The development firm expects to complete the $15 million project's first phase within two years after approval, and all eight within five years.

"We tried to be really sensitive to the direction of the commission and the input of the community," Armstrong said.

He said the six-month contingency period Cheezem originally said he would use to explore whether to close on the deal is no longer applicable. "JMC will pursue this case to its conclusion, regardless of how long it takes," Armstrong said.

If all goes smoothly, officials expect the item to come before the Town Commission in late September or early October after review by staff and Planning and Zoning board, and what is expected to be a controversial quasi-judicial hearing process before the historic preservation board.

The deteriorating hotel, known as the "White Queen of the Gulf," housed presidents, celebrities and generations of Pinellas County residents and guests. It closed in 2009.

According to Cheezem's application, rampant disrepair to the point that "some structures should be condemned" renders restoration — estimated at nearly $200 million for a 260-room, four-star hotel and spa with underground parking, pool and other recreational amenities — "financially unfeasible." Cheezem's redevelopment plan would generate an additional $416,000 in tax revenue than last year and raise surrounding property values, the document said.

Contact Keyonna Summers at or (727) 445-4153. Follow @KeyonnaSummers.

Developer seeks demolition permit for Belleview Biltmore hotel 07/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2014 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two in serious condition after early-morning shooting in Tampa


    Two people are in serious condition after a shooting occurred early Monday morning in Tampa, according to the Tampa Police Department.

  2. Wrong-way driver on Courtney Campbell Causeway intercepted by police, faces DUI charge

    Public Safety

    A woman driving in the wrong direction on the Courtney Campbell Causeway early Monday morning was intercepted by Tampa Police officers and faces a DUI charge.

  3. Relative 'devastated' after shooting kills 8 in Mississippi


    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — Head in hands, his voice strained, Vincent Mitchell sat outside his little yellow home and tried to make sense of how a family dispute led to a rampage that killed eight people, including the deputy who tried to keep them safe.

    Christianna May-Kelly, center, is supported by family members as she cries after answering reporters questions outside her parents' home in Brookhaven, Miss., Sunday. May-Kelly said her parents and mother were among the people gunned down during a shooting in rural Mississippi Saturday night. [AP photo]
  4. Forecast: Sunny, clear Memorial Day ahead of increased rain chances throughout the week


    If you're planning on heading outside today for Memorial Day activities, the weather shouldn't get in the way.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. North Korean missile launch may be testing rivals, not technology


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea's latest missile test Monday may have less to do with perfecting its weapons technology than with showing U.S. and South Korean forces in the region that it can strike them at will.

    A woman watches a TV screen showing a file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday,. North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that landed in Japan's maritime economic zone Monday, officials said, the latest in a string of test launches as the North seeks to build nuclear-tipped ICBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland. [AP Photo/Lee Jin-man]