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Official, developer meet about Pink Palace

BRADENTON — A meeting Thursday with the potential developer for the Pink Palace “went well,” according to Tim Polk, the director of the city’s planning and community development department.

“It was primarily a meet and greet,” Polk said. “We went over some of the developer’s concerns.”

He said they wanted to know the status of the last developer’s proposal to the city to restore the historic Manatee River Hotel at 309 10th St. W. in downtown.

The last developer, Riverpark Grande Hotel Inc., defaulted on a $2.625 million loan, forcing Regions Bank in May to foreclose on the 84-year-old building, affectionately called the Pink Palace because of its distinctive exterior paint color.

Polk declined to name the developer because they are in negotiations to purchase the building and expect to close within a week.

He said the meeting Wednesday lasted only 20 minutes and he went over the city’s development process with the developer’s representatives.

The new developer has a 48-year history of rehabilitating historic hotels in Florida and throughout the mid-Atlantic, Polk said on Wednesday, and Regions Bank sought it out to take over the project.

The seven-story structure has been vacant since Riverpark Grande Development Inc. purchased it in 2005 for $3.5 million.

There have been several attempts to convert the former senior-housing complex into condominiums or a luxury, boutique hotel, but because of the failing economy, none was successful.

The once elegant, downtown landmark hotel was host to presidents and movie stars in its heyday of the 1920s.

Since then it declined and rose with the fortunes of downtown Bradenton.

With the renaissance that the urban core experienced in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the hotel became prime real estate for redevelopment.

The crash of the condominium market in 2006-07 put an end to those plans and financial backing became harder to acquire.

Over the past couple of years the building has become dilapidated with torn plastic sheeting flapping outside busted-out windows.

The renewed interest in the restoration of the Pink Place may the last hope for the building.

Polk said Wednesday that if the structure remains empty for another year or so it may have to be demolished because of neglect.

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