BRADENTON - The Bradenton City Council this morning approved spending $12,700 to board up the landmark, but dilapidated, "Pink Palace" building in downtown Bradenton.
The council last month put the project out for bid, and the contract was awarded to Vacant Property Security Inc. of Tampa. About a half-dozen companies bid for the project, said Volker Reiss, code compliance manager for the city.
The city is fronting the money for the project, but it hopes to recoup its expenses by placing a lien on the property.
Reiss said he hopes the boarding up of windows and exterior doors can start by the end of this month.
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The Riverpark Hotel, 309 10th St. W., has been vacant for more than four years since Riverpark Grande Development Inc. purchased it for $3.5 million.
The company had plans to turn the 84-year-old building first into condominiums, then proposed a luxury, boutique hotel. The building is affectionately called the Pink Palace because of its distinctive exterior paint color.
After many failed attempts because of the downturn in the economy to entice investors, the developer defaulted on a $2.625 million loan, leading Regions Bank to foreclose on the building in May.
Regions Bank officials said they had no plans to secure the property, so the city stepped in.
The contractor will place plywood over any opening on the second floor or higher that is damaged and exposes the interior to the elements.
On the first floor, all openings will be boarded up to prevent any unauthorized entry.