Birchwood Inn Emerges From Grayl's Hotel, St. Pete

Big plans are in the works for Grayl's Hotel in St. Petersburg.

Recently purchased for $1.8 million by Chuck Prather, local real estate developer and president of Birchwood Development, Grayl's Hotel, at 340 Beach Dr. NE, will undergo major renovations, including two additional floors, a new restaurant and kitchen, remodeled rooms and the addition of a bar and lounge.

Originally built in the early '20s, the three-floor building currently offers 22 hotel rooms, totaling about 19,000 square feet. Prather plans to gut most of the hotel, starting from scratch while keeping the hotel's original style in tact in an attempt to preserve one of St. Pete's top historic destinations.

With renovations set to begin in September, the completely remodeled hotel will don a new name, Birchwood Inn, and will not only feature new furniture, decor and bedding, but the addition of a 8,000-square-foot fourth floor for events and meetings; a fifth floor open-air bar and lounge; a completely remodeled top-of-the-line kitchen; a rooftop deck; a redesigned first floor including the hotel lobby, dining room and bar; and a covered side patio, among other things.

Although the overall appearance and name of the hotel will change, current Grayl's employees will remain on staff, and Southwind Hospitality will continue to manage the hotel and restaurant. One of the Tampa Bay region's top chef's -- whose name has yet to be released -- will become the new restaurant and menu consultant, and The Arcus Group will be the main architects on the project.

"We look forward to reestablishing the hotel as a vital part of this vibrant community," says Prather, who hopes to complete work on the hotel within a year.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Chuck Prather, Birchwood Development

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