1. Real Estate

Tampa Bay is a hot hotel market

Times Staff Writer

In another sign of Tampa Bay's strong economy, the bay area tied with Orlando for the most hotel sales last year. Each had 26 sales, six more than the runner-up Miami-South Florida area.

The volume of Tampa Bay sales "represents the level of interest and confidence that buyers have in hotels right now,'' said Kent Schwarz, executive vice president for Colliers Hotels. "There really isn't tremendous pressure for most hotel owners to sell unless they can sell at somewhat of a premium and these 26 sellers evidently thought the current price was enticing.''

Tampa Bay has a flurry of hotel activity underway, including a 92-room boutique hotel going up in downtown St. Petersburg and two major hotels announced for downtown Tampa's Water Street area — a 519-room JW Marriott and a 157-room hotel that may carry the Edition flag, a Marriott brand inspired by legendary New York hotelier Ian Schrager.