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STORMY WEATHER: High winds blow over vacant hotel fences and close Harborwalk

The beleaguered Waterfront Hotel has had its share of problems. It was battered by Hurricane Ian and recently it was learned asbestos would delay and complicate its demolition.
Posted at 6:53 PM, Apr 11, 2024

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Thursday's stormy weather and high winds disrupted part of Punta Gorda's downtown.

The fence surrounding the vacant and deteriorating Waterfront Hotel blew over during high winds.

The city announced the closure around noon on April 11. It stated part of the Harborwalk was closed “in response to safety concerns arising from high winds” and “the closure comes after a section of fencing along the Harborwalk was blown over, posing a hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists.”

City workers put up pylons and taped off entrances, while detour signs directed people around the closure.

The city said it was working with the owner of the Waterfront Hotel to address safety concerns and make repairs to the fence,and will reopen the Harborwalk when repairs are completed.

The Waterfront Hotel was scheduled for demolition 120 days from Jan. 24, but was delayed after asbestos was discoveredin the building in late March. The owner of the building, Amer Asmar, will have to find a qualified contractor to conduct the demolition before it can begin.

He is expected to appear at a Code Enforcement Board meeting with an update on April 24.