The owners of the Floridan
, an 82-year-old vacant and historic hotel in downtown Tampa, once the tallest in Florida, continue renovations toward a grand reopening of the luxury hotel.
Because of the complexity of the 19-story project, which involves recreating as well as renovating the hotel, they are not ready to give an opening date. Workers were recently hanging crystal and brides were calling to book the hotel's ballroom. Every part of the hotel, from its iron railings to its white marble staircases to its decorated ceilings, is being restored.
"The press keeps pushing us for a date," says attorney Lisa Shasteen, spokesperson for the hotel. "We will say that we are looking at taking reservations toward the end of the year."
Owner Antonios Markopoulis is "very pleased" at the progress workers have made on the Floridan since starting work in 2005 when Markopoulis bought the property for $6 million from Capital LLC, Shasteen says. That same year, the Floridan was placed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places
Celebrities, including Elvis Presley and Gary Cooper, stayed at the Floridian. But as new hotels and motels rose in the Tampa Bay area, the Floridan closed its doors to tourists and business people in 1966 and served long-term renters.
In recent years, the north end of downtown has started to come alive with new businesses and condominium towers.
The Floridan, which opened with 400 rooms in 1927, will have 213 keys for 195 rooms, 15 suites and three penthouses. One ballroom holds 1,500 people, another 150.
Writer: Dave Szymanski
Source: Lisa Shasteen, Floridan