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St. Petersburg's historic Vinoy hotel could soon be for sale again

The view from the seventh floor hallway in the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club new tower shows downtown St. Petersburg, left,  the original 1925 building of the resort, right, and the pool area, bottom. RLJ Lodging Trust, which acquired the Vinoy in August, is expected to put it on the market this summer. But the current manager says it will be "business as usual" at the venerable hotel. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
The view from the seventh floor hallway in the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club new tower shows downtown St. Petersburg, left, the original 1925 building of the resort, right, and the pool area, bottom. RLJ Lodging Trust, which acquired the Vinoy in August, is expected to put it on the market this summer. But the current manager says it will be "business as usual" at the venerable hotel. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published Feb. 27, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club could soon be getting a new owner.

RLJ Lodging Trust, which acquired the Vinoy in August as part of its $1 billion takeover of a Maryland company, is expected to put the venerable hotel on the market this summer.

"RLJ's portfolio does not align with complex upscale resorts, so it is very likely they will sell us off,'' Barbara Readey, the Vinoy's general manager, said Monday. "But the most important thing is Marriott will still manage it under the Renaissance flag.''

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club to get new owner

According to its web site, most of RLJ's holdings are single-building, moderate-priced hotels like Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn.

The Vinoy last sold in 2007 to FelCor Lodging Trust. FelCor embarked on a $50-million-plus upgrade that included renovations of guest rooms, the golf course and clubhouse and the addition of a new restaurant, Paul's Landing, which opened this month.

On Aug. 31, RLJ Lodging — the publicly traded real estate investment trust owned by Black Entertainment Network founder Robert Johnson — acquired FelCor in an all-stock deal that created a hospitality giant with 160 hotels and 31,467 rooms in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

Readey said RLJ is going ahead with the next phase of Vinoy renovations, which include a new spa and fitness center. That work is expected to start March 12 and take about a year.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Here's a look at the Vinoy's new restaurant

The final phase, which includes a new parking garage and tennis courts, is due to be completed in 2019.

The Vinoy, a St. Petersburg landmark at 501 Fifth Ave. NE, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It opened in 1925 and was leased to U.S. Army Air Forces and U.S. Maritime Commission during World War II as a training center and housing for military cooks and bakers.

The hotel reopened to the public in 1944, but slid into decline and closed in 1974. Saved from the wrecking ball by a city referendum, it reopened in 1992 as a Stouffer Hotel. A year later, it was acquired by the Renaissance Hotel Group and renamed.

No price has been set for the Vinoy. The current owner "likely will have the broker do a value assessment and go from there,'' Readey said, adding that the Marriott management agreement "goes with the building.''

"For us, it's business as usual,'' she said.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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