Letter to the Editor: Putt or get off the Green
The recent town hall meeting was as lively as ever when the subject was the Belleview Biltmore Hotel.
Since the Town Board agreed to stay the zoning for another 6 months, the priority becomes to find a buyer who will restore the hotel. Restoration is possible, so let's put that item on the shelf. What's Next?
Even some of the naysayers said they would be agreeable for restoration if the buyers had the money, and the credentials for marketing and managing the hotel after its restoration.
Until now, the town has passively waited for people to come forward with their ideas; hopes are raised and then dashed, because they can't raise the money. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported the growth of Boutique hotels (10 to 100 rooms). See article here: http://tinyurl.com/odq6jd7
The major hotel chains are also involved in time share and or condotels. Check out Clearwater Beach. It's time to think about what to put in the box. The Belleview Biltmore would be a great collection of all three under one roof.
In order to make this happen, somebody on the Belleair Board of Commissioners needs to take the initiative. I would recommend Commissioner Fowler. His position on saving the hotel is unambiguous. If he or other commissioners do not think that their position is adequate enough to get the attention of top officers in the big three (Marriott, Hilton or Sheraton), then ask for assistance from the Governor and his office.
When the next town meeting includes the Biltmore, and this is done, it's a safe bet that there will be fewer Preservationists “teed off.”