Tag Archives: hotel

Photo by Bullet, 2014

Harder Hall

State Archives of Florida, 19-
Photo: A postcard depicting Harder Hall, circa 19-.

During the 1920s, Florida experienced a land boom, a period in which tourism was on the rise and many hotel were built such as the Dixie Walesbilt Hotel, the Don CeSar and this one. Construction began in 1925 and was carried out by Schultze & Weaver, who were also responsible for the construction of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and was designed by William Manly King who designed many buildings in the Palm Beach area such as the historic Boynton Beach High School.

Harder Hall was named after it’s developers, Lewis F. Harder and Vincent Hall and opened in 1927 on the shores of Little Lake Jackson.

In 1953, it was bought by Victor and David Jacobson and partners Larry Tennenbaum and Sam Levy. Victor commissioned acclaimed golf architect Dick Wilson to transform the resort’s golf course into a championship layout. Victor and Eva Jacobson operated Harder Hall Golf and Tennis Camp at the hotel and was the first and last co-ed, teenage golf and tennis camp in a resort ever. During this time, the resort was host to many famous guests such as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Ali MacGraw and Mario Andretti.

Victor operated the hotel until 1982 when he sold it to Land Resources Corp., a North-Miami based time-share developer. After a fair amount of work done on the inside, the group went bankrupt and were unable to complete their plan. The hotel has sat empty since.

unknown, 194-
Photo: A photograph of Harder Hall from the 1940s.

Over the years, many groups have tried completing the renovation project but none got far. Demolition looked imminent for the building until it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

The last attempt was by an investor in Florida, who worked on the project between 2005 and 2006. Though this group got more work done than previous attempt, they ran out of funds and work stopped again. Harder Hall was put up for auction in 2007 and was purchased by the city of Sebring. The golf course is still in great condition and is used on a pay-to-play basis.

The city of Sebring is currently looking to sell the property. More information can be found on the city’s website.

Photo by Bullet, 2014
Photo(Bullet, 2014): The main lobby as you enter the hotel.

Photographer: Bullet
Year Taken: 2014
Website: Abandoned Florida

Photo by Nomeus, 2012

Treasure Island Inn

Photo: A postcard which shows some of the Polynesian style it used to have.

Known under various names such as the Treasure Island Resort or Treasure Island Inn, the 11-story, 227-room structure was built in 1974 along the sandy shores of Daytona Beach and residing where the Treasure Island Motel used to be.

It featured a tiki garden with a bar, two swimming pools, conference facilities, the Billy Bone’s Tavern, and a grand entrance with a huge wooden, Polynesian-style, overhanging roof.

postcard 1989
Photo: Postcard from 1989.

Like the Glass Bank in Cocoa Beach, the hotel sustained huge amounts of damage after the 2004 hurricane season and was closed down by the end of summer. The owners, Bray & Gillespie LLC, stated it would reopen by June 2005, but work halted during it’s reconstruction after a legal dispute with the construction company hired to repair the building. To make matters worse, Bray & Gillespie who used to own over 35 hotels in the Daytona area filed for bankruptcy.

When the city of Daytona Beach Shores filed suit in 2011 to get the building torn down, a dozen defendants were named because it was that unclear who owned it because of all the liens, bankruptcies, suits and countersuits. In the end, the court determined the property was under the ownership of RAIT Financial Trust, the lien holder.

Afterwards, an agreement was established which required RAIT to either demolish or restore the building within the next year. In return, the city would forgive about $167,000 of the more than $800,000 in code enforcement fines the property has racked up over the past decade.

Rather then demolishing the building, RAIT began cleaning the area around the property with the idea of restoring it. But as of now, the building remains as it has for the past 10 years; a hulking eyesore where only scrappers and the curious individual goes.

Photo by Nomeus, 2010
Photo(Nomeus, 2012 – Flurbex.com): Much of the inside has been scrapped of any valuable wiring or piping.

Photographer: Nomeus
Year Taken: 2010-2012
Website: FLURBEX

Archive Photos

Photo by James Davidson, 2012

Belleview Biltmore Gets Reprieve; Demolition Delayed

Belleaire city commissioners met on Tuesday night to decide on a land use ordinance change, which calls for a new type of zoning that would allow the owners to demolish the hotel and build multi-family homes.

The vote followed over 2 hours of comments from over 40 people, out of the more than 150 residents and hotel admirers who packed town hall to speak for or against the proposal. “We do not want this zoning. We do not want heavier density. We want you to follow the law that you were sworn in to preserve,” said Karmen Hayes, who directed her attack at city leaders.

Michael Cheezem of JMC Communities, a property developer, has entered into a contract to purchase the Biltmore and made his intentions known. “I want to be clear, however, that our plan will include building townhomes and condominiums, which would require removing the hotel,” he said during the meeting.

Commissioner Stephen Fowler said the city’s historic preservation code doesn’t allow buildings like the Biltmore to be demolished for the purpose of building something non-historic. He called for an injunction against the current owners and urged the city to hold off on creating a new zoning designation that would allow them to move forward.

Commissioners Tom Shelley and Michael Wilkerson sided with Fowler. Mayor Gary Katica and Commissioner Kevin Piccarreto dissented.

In the end, the Belleair Town Commission voted 3-2 to postpone the decision to change the zoning by 6 months.

A second and final vote will occur, Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:30p in the Belleair Town Hall. Anyone may attend.