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"This is a crazy eyesore!"...and asbestos just delayed demolition in Punta Gorda

The Waterfront Hotel and Suites has been closed since Hurricane Ian in the end of September 2022.
Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 18:52:39-04

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The demolition of the shuttered Waterfront Hotel and Suites in Punta Gorda has been delayed after asbestos was discovered inside the building.

The hotel sustained damage during Hurricane Ian and has been closed ever since. On Jan. 24, the Punta Gorda Code Enforcement Board voted to have the owner, Amer Asmar, demolish the building after violating several safety codes.

Since then, a fence has been put up around the hotel and the attached restaurant, Hurricane Charley’s, which will also be demolished.

Located at 300 W Retta Esplanade, the visibly damaged building sits on the City’s downtown’s Harborwalk and is a jarring juxtaposition from the surrounding area.

“It should be either condomed or make something new because it is an eyesore,” said Debbie Ward who was on the Harborwalk.

“This historical neighborhood is amazing, it's beautiful,” said Bob Barker, who was exercising on the Harborwalk. “This is a crazy eyesore, I can't believe it's still here. I hope it's safe for the residents and the people here and I hope they can clean it up soon.”

At a Board meeting on March 27, it was announced that Asmar had not obtained a demolition permit because asbestos was discovered inside during a survey, and a qualified asbestos abatement contractor had not yet been chosen.

“Without a complete survey and them identifying who is going to be doing the abatement as well as the demolition we cannot issue a permit,” said Kathleen Croteau, a Punta Gorda building official at the meeting.

The Board will discuss the future of the building again at the next meeting on April 24.