New $17 million downtown hotel gets green light

The .6-acre site across from Bradenton City Hall on Old Main Street passed the final legislative hurdle for a new hotel as city officials finalized a development agreement.
The .6-acre site across from Bradenton City Hall on Old Main Street passed the final legislative hurdle for a new hotel as city officials finalized a development agreement. Bradenton Herald file photo

All that remains are a permitting process and working through minor site plan details before downtown Bradenton will see a new Marriott-owned Spring Hill Suites rise into the air. The city council finalized the development agreement Wednesday.

There are minor changes to the initial proposal from when the city entered into a purchase agreement in January with North Star Lodging for $650,000 for the .6-acre site at 102 12th St. W., the former home of the old Manatee Players theater, which was demolished in December.

The original proposal was for a nine-story hotel with 120 rooms, but after completing their due diligence on the site, conceptual plans now call for an eight-story hotel with 130 rooms. Amenities such as a swimming pool, a restaurant and a tiki lounge remain in the plans.

Cost estimates for the new hotel remain around $17 million and the city council, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, has offered incentives to include “a certain percentage” of tax increment funding relief for 15 years, according to the development agreement. The city also agreed to improve lighting and streetscaping along the project site.

North Star Lodging and Development Inc. formed Players Point Hotel LLC in December. It will operate the project under that name along with AHE Investments Florida LLC, which also formed in December with NDC Construction owner Ron Allen. Bradenton law firm Blalock Walters is the registered agent for both.

“The development agreement closely mirrors the concept presented in January,” said Carl Callahan, city administrator. “The tax reimbursements are something we are honing in on as standardized language as far as when they start, when they end and if they don’t do something they are supposed to do.”

The city also agrees to provide 100 parking spaces dedicated to the hotel. The original plan was to give the hotel 100 spaces in the city hall parking lot on the northern end, but the city is using the opportunity to pursue building a new downtown parking garage on the southwest corner of the lot. The city will offer the hotel the ground floor of the proposed multilevel garage. Details continue to be worked out for the new garage, which the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority recently backed with some new ideas.

Players Point Hotel representative William Robinson said “great progress” has been made since the purchase agreement was approved in January. “We are also working with staff on the permitting process, but this was a key contingency to close this transaction, which we hope to close on late this year,” he said.

Planning Community and Development Director Catherine Hartley said there is still a little work to do in fine-tuning the site plan, but unless any major changes are requested, the development agreement was the final stage for city council approval. The rest, she said, would be finalized through the planning department.

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