Bradenton's new 'pink palace' won't be pink

BRADENTON — A $15 million renovation of a historic hotel in downtown Bradenton is expected to start this summer after the Manatee County Commission today approved a parking arrangement with a developer.

But the formerly glamorous Manatee River Hotel, which is also known as “The Pink Palace” because of its tropically-inspired exterior color, will not be pink, according to developer Brian Long.

He said the building will be painted a shade of beige, in keeping with the color it was in an earlier incarnation.

Long said he was “thrilled” at the county commission vote allowing his company, Widewaters Bradenton, LLC, to sign a 70-year lease to use a county-owned parking lot across the street from the hotel for minimal compensation.

The 25 parking spaces there, combined with parking spaces provided by the city of Bradenton, was the final piece of a business deal that has been years in the making, he said.

He wasn’t the only one celebrating.

“We’ve been very eager to get this thing done,” said Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston, noting that the project was difficult to bring to completion because “all the pieces didn’t fit.”

Plans call for construction of a 115-room Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel boasting king- and queen-sized suites, along with traditional rooms, said Long.

Construction is slated to begin this summer, and should be complete by next summer, he said.

A swimming pool will be located on the east side of the building at 309 10th St. W., Long said after the meeting at the County Administrative Center.

The hotel will employ about 35 people, mostly full-time, and will have a $2.5 million annual economic impact, once its guests go outside the hotel to spend on restaurants, shopping and recreation, Long said.

The hotel was built in the mid-1920s, and was a favorite of the wealthy set, but closed in 1960. It reopened as a senior citizens residence renamed the Riverpark Hotel, but that closed in 2005, and the building has remained vacant since then.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.