Bradenton officials hope 'brownfields' help may spur Pink Palace project

skennedy@bradenton.comJuly 12, 2011 

BRADENTON — City officials are planning to propose designating the former “pink palace” in downtown Bradenton a “brownfield” site, so it might qualify for state environmental clean-up and jobs incentives.

Tim Polk, Bradenton’s director of planning and community development, said Tuesday he would seek the designation for the former and now-vacant Manatee River Hotel in an effort to financially help its owner, The Widewaters Group Inc.

The company, based in Syracuse, N.Y., hopes to transform the eyesore at 309 10th St. W. into a Hampton Inn & Suites hotel.

“The action being taken by the city of Bradenton is to designate the property as a brownfield area to make it eligible for these state incentives,” said Brian Long, director of development for The Widewaters Group.

Such incentives are not grants but rebates applied against future state taxes paid, such as state sales tax or corporate income tax, he said.

“The program does not cost the local municipality anything, as the only taxes that the credit applies to are state-level taxes,” Long said. Such incentives, as well as historic preservation tax credits available for restoring the circa-1925 hotel, have “always been part of the overall plan to make this project feasible,” Long said. Volker Reiss, Bradenton’s compliance manager for planning and community development, said he hoped the city council would adopt such a resolution during its Aug. 17 meeting.

Reiss explained that the property “is not soaking in chemicals or oil,” but that some type of cleanup is necessary.

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