Hotel Putnam was built in 1923, replacing the old Putnam Inn after it burned down in 1921. It was designed by Wm. J. Carpenter, recognized for his experience with the construction of fireproof buildings in Spokane, Washington, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and St. Petersburg, Florida. According to local historians, it was also Florida’s first fireproof hotel.
Since then, the interior has gone through extensive renovations. The hotel originally contained 128 hotel rooms until it was bought by Jerry Rocco in 1974. Over the years, he renovated it into 46 apartments which including a kitchen, living room, a separate bedroom and private bathroom, leaving 26 hotel rooms.
Local residents say the building is haunted and visitors claim the building is seeped in sadness. According to local legend, a hotel guest killed his wife and then committed suicide. People claim to have seen a shadowy figure roaming the halls or have heard walking and whistling when no one was there. The seventh floor is said to be the most active, although it has always been off-limits to guests and was used for storage.
After much researching, I could not find anything resembling that crime occurring at the hotel. The closest I found was on February 10, 1984, a man by the name of Stephen Paul Hughes pushed his pregnant girlfriend off of a third-floor fire escape, killing her and her unborn child. At the time, the hotel was described as being run-down, rife with drug dealings and prostitution.
Jayne Rocco received the building in a divorce settlement in 2009, where she then tried to improve it.
Despite that, Hotel Putnam closed down in January 2011. By that time, the rooms were going for around $600 a month, including utilities as well as internet. Only 12 of the units were occupied though. According to the eviction notices received, the hotel was shutting down due to significant financial losses and gave residents just 15 days to vacate and relocate.
After soon falling behind on mortgage payments, she sold the property in June 2013 for $903,000 to Soly Halabi, senior managing director at Venture Capital Properties in New York City. He had planned to restore the property along with a partner of his but the building remains in shambles.