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Treasure Island yacht club to become Vegas-style entertainment venue

TREASURE ISLAND — Las Vegas-style entertainment, top chefs and amenities rivaled only by exclusive New York City clubs are just some of the events and services promised by the operator of the newly renamed the Club at Treasure Island.

"I want this to be a one-stop social center for Central Florida," entertainment impresario Bill Edwards announced at a news conference Tuesday morning.

"The club will offer world class entertainment, exclusive events, celebrity chefs, Las Vegas style shows and the most thorough concierge service anywhere in Florida," he said. "This is a bold new beginning for the club and Treasure Island as a community."

Edwards said his recent $2.5 million donation to All Children's Hospital was only the start of a new charity partnership between the hospital and the club.

"At All Children's Hospital, we could not be happier to have a link with this club," said hospital president Gary Carnes.

According to Edwards, the hospital will receive 10 percent of all membership and event proceeds, 100 percent of the proceeds from "no less than six events" during the coming year, as well as an exclusive holiday celebration for hospital staff members and their families.

"The bottom line is that every single club event will directly help and elevate All Children's Hospital," Edwards said.

Those events include what Edwards described as a "star-studded lineup for months to come".

In October alone, the completely renovated, lounge-style venue on the club's second floor will seat about 220 people for Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show from Las Vegas and a concert by Grammy, Emmy, Tony winner and Oscar nominee Lainie Kazan.

Quebec's the Boogie Wonder Band will perform at the club's Pool Pavilion.

Other entertainment scheduled through the spring includes Steve Solomon, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., the Fab Four, KC & the Sunshine Band, Debbie Reynolds, Jon Secada, Frankie Valli, Wayne Brady and Hal Linden.

Edwards said upcoming special Master Chef Dinners will feature Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali.

Although most of the seats at these events will be reserved for club members, Edwards said a portion will be open to the public.

Initial club memberships sell for $250 (seniors), $900 (single or couple), $1,250 (family of four) or $2,250 (corporate) initially and between $100 and $250 a month thereafter.

Members can utilize the clubhouse, fitness center, game room, tennis facilities, pool pavilion, and will receive special concierge services, including anytime medical services and special pricing for fitness and beauty services and cruises.

"The club will provide the best concierge service in Florida that will rival private clubs in New York City," said Joe Jimenez, the club's managing director.

Last summer, Edwards bought the bankrupt Treasure Island Tennis & Yacht Club for cash. At the time, there was an outstanding mortgage of $8.6 million. Since then, he substantially refurbished both the exterior and interior.

"I want this to be a place where people feel welcome, valued and important," Edwards said. "I am making a multiyear, multimillion dollar commitment to this town and to this club to increase amenities and services and programs we provide."

This isn't his first venture into the local entertainment scene. He's one of the new owners of Jannus Live and in 2004, he offered St. Petersburg more than $10 million to run the Mahaffey Theater. He proposed to manage it for five years and keep the revenues, while donating the money for renovations. He eventually donated $2 million to Mahaffey renovations and walked away.

Edwards, a Treasure Island resident, operates Big3 Entertainment and Bill Edwards Presents — recording, touring and promotional companies that represent such stars as Jon Secada, Josh Groban, Toby Keith, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Cheap Trick, Stryper and Carnie Wilson.

Treasure Island yacht club to become Vegas-style entertainment venue 09/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 5:40pm]
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