Pink Palace renovations OK'd

mvalverde@bradenton.comJune 6, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Renovations for downtown Bradenton's "Pink Palace" building were unanimously approved Tuesday by the city's Architectural Review Board -- advancing plans to restore the structure's historic look and establishing that the new hotel at the site will not be pink.

"Our goal is to take the exterior and first floor of the interior back to the 1920s era," said Brian Long, director of development for The Widewaters Group, Inc.

The new 119 rooms Hampton Inn & Suites hotel will be restored as much as possible to reflect the style of the structure originally built in 1925. To stay true to the authentic style, the building will not be painted pink, as it is commonly known, but rather have off-white and medium beige tones, the review board and developer agreed.

"We don't like it, we don't think it looks good," Long said of the pink tone. "We don't think it's attractive."

He said that in the 1920s pink was not a popular building color and that it was only until the 1970s that the building was called the "Pink Pal

ace." Throughout its lifetime, the site has served as a hotel and nursing home facility, but has been vacant for the past few years.

The new hotel, along Third Avenue and 10th Street West, is expected to attract 40,000 to 50,000 guests a year and generate about $2.5 million a year. Construction is set to start this summer and be completed within a year.

"The challenge is trying to fit a modern hotel in this older body," said Tom Hogan, architect with Hogan Campis Architecture. He said the windows, balcony and railings would be refurbished and secured, but the balcony doors would be kept closed because the balcony rails did not meet the current height requirements.

Signs on each of the four sides will be added to draw attention to the hotel, he said, calling them "necessary evils" that were "absolutely essential" to help the hotel be profitable.

Jason Taylor, Architectural Review Board member, said the historic building was a town jewel.

"Please treat it like a lady," he told the developer and architects.

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