Citizens Band Together To Save Historic Biltmore Hotel

Historic Biltmore Hotel
Belleaire -

Owners of the historic Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa applied for a permit last week to raze the 108-year-old building.

But a group of ordinary citizens isn't about to roll over and let the historic hotel be demolished. They have banded together to try to save it. Rae Clair Johnson is chairwoman of Citizens to Save the Biltmore.

JOHNSON: It's the last grand hotel of the Victorian Age. And some people argue that it's the most significant, because of its size, and it is the anchor to the settlement of this part of Florida.

They have put together a web site at www.savethebiltmore-dot-com. Group members also plan to picket the hotel and boycott major investors in the developer that pulled the demolition permit. The also plan to attend the next meeting of the Belleair Historic Preservation Board on May 5th.

JOHNSON: We started looking for a developer who would be willing to work with us. And we've set up a foundation so we can bring donations in to try and save this property.

In the meantime, Johnson says a developer has offered her group a bridge loan to secure the property. The group would then refinance it, using federal historic tax grants, and place the hotel in a foundation. She says the revenue from hotel operations should be enough to keep it going once it's fully restored.

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