The new owners of the derelict hotel structure on Old Dixie Highway expect to complete the remodel in about a year and plan to add a 30-by-90-foot pool, 3,500-foot banquet center and restaurant that will be a weekend steakhouse, officials told county commissioners at a March 21 meeting.

The renovated structure will be called the Hotel Henry.

“It’s a great addition to the county. I’m looking forward to the completion. It’s going to be really good.”

— GREG HANSEN, County Commissioner

“We look forward to getting started and are looking at a construction schedule of one year from receipt of our permit,” said Jim Albano, representing architect Bespoke Group and general contractor Albano Design Studios.

The county and hotel ownership have been at odds over the renovation process which missed construction deadlines, and the slow pace of the redevelopment process frustrated some area residents.

Representatives of the development company acknowledged that the property was still not very attractive.

“Look, the property doesn’t look pretty right now, even though it’s been cleaned,” said Greg Kong, a local realtor representing owner MG Capital Partners.

But, he added, “All the dirty beds, the bathrooms – all those things have been removed. … I don’t know how many dumpsters there were, but there were a lot.”

The recent illegal dumping was a problem, Albano said, that has since been resolved: A breach in the construction fence had allowed trespassers to slip onto the property, but the breach has been repaired and the trash cleaned up.

The general contractor expects to have 24 hour security on site once he has started work.

The hotel itself will be modeled after a boutique hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., and will have 96 rooms — up from the current 100 rooms, with some rooms converted to suites, Albano said.

Curator Andy Dance asked what defines a “boutique hotel”.

Albano said they’re usually small, but high-end.

“Even though this is an outer corridor hotel, it will be quite upscale,” Albano said. “The interior furnishings are quite luxurious for each room.”

One of the owners, he said, is a restaurateur who owns five restaurants in New York.

“The plan is at night and on the weekends the restaurant becomes a good steak house or chophouse,” Albano said. “Plus, there’s a full-service bar, as well as outdoor seating around the pool.”

The owners plan to add a second additional building with 90 rooms, spread over three floors, in the future. This one would have interior hallways.

MG Capital, Albano said, owns 18 other hotels, and this one will be managed by Reliance Hotel Group, based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dance asked if the owners plan to keep the hotel or flip it. Albano said they expected to keep him.

The commissioners spoke favorably of the company’s plans.

“I’m glad to see this because it’s been a long struggle with this place,” Commissioner David Sullivan said. “It’s been vacant for a number of years, so it’s not an easy project to take on and try to fix again, but it’s a great location – right on Interstate 95 and across from Plantation Bay – so seeing the progress is the most important thing here.”

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