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Council updates Vinoy marina lease

As developers of the Vinoy Park Hotel work toward securing a loan torestore the resort, the City Council on Thursday took some action of its own to help the project.

The council approved some changes in the lease between the city and developer for a marina on city property in front of the hotel.

Assistant city attorney John Wolfe said the changes are typical of the kind of assurances that lenders seek before closing on a loan.

Wolfe said the changes are part of a package he is putting together for Barclays Bank PLC and Credit Lyonnais, the two institutions that are providing the $66-million needed to complete the project.

Frederick Guest II, president of the company that is redeveloping the hotel, told council members in December that the lenders would close on the loan in January or February.

The renovation will be done by Federal Construction Co. and the finished hotel will be operated as a Stouffer Resort. Stouffer is a partner in the project.

Stouffer anticipates opening the 367-room hotel in the fall of 1991. Renovations will include a complete redesign of the Sunset Golf and Country Club on Snell Isle for use by members and guests of the hotel resort.

As part of the incentives, city voters agreed to lease marina space to the Vinoy. The changes approved Thursday would allow the lenders to step in and make payments on the lease in the event that the developers default.

If the developers do not live up to the terms of the lease on the marina land, the lenders would have 30 days to step in and make good before the city could take the land back under the lease.

The Vinoy opened in 1926 and was the city's premier destination until World War II, when it was taken over for troop housing. After the war, vacation patterns changed and resorts like the Vinoy fell into disfavor.

It has been closed since 1975, although a series of developers have attempted to capitalize on its unique design and waterfront location to reopen it as a resort. None of the plans has succeeded.