1. Pasco

Historic Hacienda Hotel set for holiday season reopening in New Port Richey

Hacienda Hotel in New Port Richey ALICE HERDEN | Special to the Times
Published Apr. 17

NEW PORT RICHEY -- It could be a very happy holiday season for New Port Richey if projections come to fruition for reopening the historic Hacienda Hotel.

Construction is moving along quickly on the 1927 landmark Main Street hotel that bustled with Hollywood silent movie stars in its heyday. The hotel's renovator, James Gunderson, believes the Hacienda may open as a boutique hotel in the building's historic footprint just after Christmas, economic development director Mario Iezzoni told council members during a strategic planning session on Monday.

It is a stunning turnaround for a beloved building that many thought could be lost to disrepair after years of dormancy and dilapidation amid the devastating recession more than a decade ago. New Port Richey has owned the hotel since 2004, when it purchased the Hacienda for more than $2 million during the real estate boom.

Excitement is brewing over the projected reopening, leading council members to talk about a big marketing push. They will consider creating a city marketing position, hiring someone to help them tell the story of New Port Richey's downtown renaissance of residential and commercial development, and the emergence of a growing entertainment and arts scene.

"Now is definitely the time to get that ramped up," said council member Matt Murphy. "I've always felt that we needed that anchor, something cohesive to pull the city together, to really have a story to talk about, and that's the Hacienda,"

The council also heard from council member Peter Altman that a big name in local real estate may consider building a residential development across the street from the Hacienda. Details are slim, but the city could learn next week what Grady Pridgen has in mind for property he owns along Main Street.

Pridgen is well-known in Tampa Bay for his explosive rise to a real estate portfolio worth an estimated $4 billion during the boom-time of the early 2000s. Then by 2011, the recession had led to him and his companies defaulting on loans totaling $60 million.

The discussion at Monday's meeting also turned to the Richey Suncoast Theater, another historic facility on Grand Boulevard downtown. It could be another element in generating buzz for the city, council members said. Deputy Mayor Jeff Starkey called the theater a gem and requested a work session to discuss the future of the non-profit theater with its board of directors.

"It's a huge positive resource we have downtown that is 100 percent, completely under-utilized in my opinion," Starkey said.


  1. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  2. In December 2017, two masked motorcycle gang members were accused of assassinating Paul Anderson, 44,  president of the Cross Bayou chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club while his pickup was stopped at a traffic light in Pasco County. [Pasco County Sheriffs Office]
    Evidence from the federal trial of two members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club offers a rare glimpse of the world of outlaw biker gangs.
  3. Deputies were able to extricate the person with the aid of a Taser.
  4. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  5. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Charges are pending, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  6. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  7. Beau, Vivi, Peter and Meredith are available for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay area shelter pets
  8. BayCare Health Systems now plans to build a $200 million, 60-bed hospital along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The company previously planned to build on 111 acres further north adjacent to Interstate 75 and an interchange to built at Overpass Road. Shown his the main entrance to BayCare's St. Joseph's Hospital North on Van Dyke Road in Lutz. Times
    BayCare plans a $200 million, 60-bed hospital on land it owns along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard
  9. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. To sort through your options, visit the Times' Medicare guide at or contact Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a state program commonly known as SHINE. Contact them at 1-800-963-5337 or MICHELE MILLER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    About 9 million people with Medicare Part D plans will see higher premiums if they don’t make a change before Dec. 7, a new study says.
  10. A cat named Karma finds a comfortable spot in the lap of Taylor McKenzie during the Kitty Cats and Yoga Mats wellness activity at the Land O' Lakes Library. Michele Miller
    Two Pasco County agencies partner to bring the interactive activity to local libraries.