Current zoning on the Biltmore site allows only for a hotel or single-family homes but new zoning options would allow the developer to tear down the historic structure to build anything from condos to restaurants, depending on what they apply for.
St. Petersburg developer Mike Cheezem, who has a contract to buy the deteriorating hotel, explained that a portion of the hotel will have to be demolished and envisions a mixed-use plan in which he would transform a portion of the 117-year-old Biltmore into a small boutique hotel that would operate alongside condos and townhomes.
A large number of people have been fighting for restoration of the structure but no one has come forward with the money to do so. Commissioner Mike Wilkerson stated that a full hotel restoration is preferred, but Cheezem’s proposal is a compromise. He noted that even if the new zoning options pass, someone could still come forward to purchase the hotel with the option to preserve it.