Report on New Port Richey's Hacienda Hotel: fixing will be costly

Published April 4 2014

NEW PORT RICHEY — The cost to repair years of neglect of the historic Hacienda Hotel may end up costing nearly as much as the city paid for the landmark.

On Tuesday, the City Council received a $27,000 structural assessment report from the engineering firm McKim & Creed that outlined the scope of renovations needed for the hotel on Main Street, in the heart of downtown. The bad news: a price tag of up to $2-million to bring the building up to code.

The report told of termite damage, water damage from a leaky roof, aging infrastructure, and fire protection issues. For Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips the news was not unexpected but still disappointing. He said a "lack of leadership" over the years is to blame. New Port Richey bought the hotel in 2004 for more than $2-million.

Phillips also warned that the report is just an initial view of the problems with the building as the city will need to dig deeper upon renovating.

"I think the more you peel back this onion you are going to cry even more," Phillips said.

City Council member Jeff Starkey tried to quantify how bad the condition of the Hacienda is by asking McKim officials to put it on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst. They put it at a seven.

Next, city staff will present options to the council on the cost of hiring pest control and roof stabilization experts. Fire officials will also be assessing fire protection needs for the building.

But there wasn't only bad news about the Hacienda. City economic development director Mario Iezzoni told the board that the two firms interested in redeveloping the hotel — Florida Motel Inc., of Yulee and Birmingham, Ala., firm Legacy Lodging LLC — were not scared off by the report. Iezzoni said he expected financial information from the firms April 4.