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Historic waterfront hotel in Punta Gorda set for demolition

Posted at 10:14 PM, Jan 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-24 22:14:12-05

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The waterfront hotel in Punta Gorda, a landmark that has stood for over 50 years, is ready for demolition.

The Punta Gorda Code Enforcement Board voted unanimously for the demolition of the hotel and the adjoining restaurant, Hurricane Charley's, within the next 120 days. This decision comes after safety concerns and code violations regarding the property.

Dave Gammon, the Director of Charlotte County Economic Development, emphasized the deteriorating condition of the building. "It's not safe, it's not good, it's got to be dilapidated inside, so it's time to do something," Gammon stated.

Ahead of the demolition, the property owners have been ordered to put up fencing around the building within 10 days. An assessment will also be conducted to determine if the harbor walk should be closed to pedestrians to ensure safety during the demolition process.

Some neighbors like Nathaniel Kolenda, have emotional ties to the hotel. "It's very sentimental to me. I very much enjoyed the building being there. It holds a lot of memories," Kolenda shared.

The hotel has also been a spot for trespassers, with reports of individuals breaking through the second-floor windows to gain access. The inability of emergency responders to enter the first floor, due to it being boarded up, has added to the safety concerns. The code violations have resulted in more than $2,600 in fines for the owners.

Gammon sees the demolition as a potential catalyst for positive change. "Maybe this was the impetus we needed for the owner to sell it or do something productive," he suggested, hopeful for the future redevelopment of the site.

The owners now have 30 days to apply for and receive a demolition permit, after which the demolition work is expected to begin.