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New Bradenton downtown hotel plans suffer minor delay over site contamination

The process to move forward with a proposed new downtown hotel suffered a slight delay when contaminates were found during the due diligence period, but officials say it will be a quick fix to get the development agreement moving forward again. File photo
The process to move forward with a proposed new downtown hotel suffered a slight delay when contaminates were found during the due diligence period, but officials say it will be a quick fix to get the development agreement moving forward again. File photo gjefferies@bradenton.com

The proposal to build a new $17 million Marriott-owned Spring Hill Suites hotel in downtown Bradenton at the former site of the old Manatee Players theater across from city hall has suffered a minor delay.

According to city administrator Carl Callahan, contaminates were found in the northwest section of the half-acre site and a final development agreement is being held up until the soil is removed. Callahan said the city was not in possession of the soil sample report and could not elaborate on what kind of contaminates were discovered.

“However, nothing needs to be done with the water table, it’s just the ground soil,” he said. “It’s easily correctable, and it’s our responsibility in our purchase agreement to deliver them a clean site.”

The city and North Star Lodging and Development entered into a purchase agreement in January for $650,000, which is dependent on the due diligence period to determine if the site is viable for the project. Even though the city is 100 percent responsible for the cleanup, North Star has agreed to fund half of the cleanup costs.

Callahan said the area of contamination “is not small, but everything new that goes on downtown is probably going to be in that position because past practices that were once common practices will likely find something that comes up in older developed sites.”

The proposed 120-room, nine-story hotel, 102 Old Main Street, will feature a 3,000 square-foot bottom-floor restaurant. David Cocco, president of North Star Lodging and Development out of Pittsburgh, said he hopes to have a local restaurateur operate the restaurant and a proposed outside tiki bar and pool.

Cocco said the goal is to still break ground late this year.

Also, the city is considering building a parking garage in the southwest corner of the existing city hall parking lot that would create hundreds of news spaces for both public and hotel parking.

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