Category Archives: News

Photo by James Davidson, 2012

Preservationist Files Lawsuit To Block Sale of Biltmore Hotel

The fight for the Biltmore continues…

Back in March, president of Friends of the Belleview Biltmore Rae Claire Johnson, filed a lawsuit against the town of Belleair claiming the town violated its own ordinances by failing to properly advertise its first vote on the matter or letting her argue on the matter beforehand.

Since then, Michael Cheezem who has a contract to buy the Biltmore had intended to raze the hotel and to preserve the lobby and restaurant. He later scrapped those plans claiming cost and worries about bringing the building up-to-code made it impossible. He now intends to a replica inn, condos and townhomes in its place.

Now, Johnson has filed a second lawsuit along with Belleair residents Doris E. Hanson and Mary Lou White in U.S. Middle District Court. They accuse Belleair commissioners of favoritism and colluding in the hotel’s sale by failing to enforce the town’s historic preservation ordinance, code infraction process or comprehensive plan. Doing this has given the owners of the Biltmore freedom to illegally withhold routine maintenance to be able to make a case for demolition.

They want a judge to stop the sale and to force the owners to repair the building.