Dec 15, 2022 - News

Tampa City Council to weigh in on proposed Harbour Island hotel

3D rendering of the hotel

A rendering of the proposed hotel. Source: LIberty Group

The fight between Harbour Island residents and a prominent Tampa developer could end tonight, with the city either getting a new hotel or a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Why it matters: Downtown Tampa needs all the hotel rooms and revenue it can get, tourism leaders say. But some longtime residents insist the hotel will only cause more problems for Harbour Island.

Driving the news: Tampa City Council will vote today on whether to approve plans presented by developer Punit Shah to build a 150-room AC Hotel by Marriott at the site of the old SunTrust bank.

Flashback: City Council voted down Shah's first application in May after residents voiced opposition to construction just outside their communities.

  • Shah filed a $6.6 million lawsuit, claiming he is being prevented from his right to develop the property he owns. The suit has been on hold after mediation between Shah and the city, but he Axios he's prepared to go to court if his proposal is rejected.
  • "You can't ignore a property owner's private rights with property laws," Shah told Axios. "It's vested with the land. It's part of why people invest in development."

The other side: Larry Premak, president of Harbour Island's South Neighborhood Association, told Axios he'll be fighting the proposal at today's meeting alongside a city planner, a traffic engineer and two attorneys.

  • One of the group's biggest concerns is traffic. Getting on and off the island by car is already "horrendous," Premak said, adding that it will only get worse with a hotel.
  • Some residents are concerned about the ability for emergency services to get in and out if the hotel happens, he said.

What's next: City Council meets at 5pm.


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