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Hotel faces checkout time

Reservations abound for the 44 condos of the Sereno, which will replace a Holiday Inn in Madeira Beach.

By SHARON L. BOND, Times Staff Writer
Published February 29, 2004

MADEIRA BEACH - The Holiday Inn at 15208 Gulf Blvd., which offers rooms for less than $100, will close May 31 to make way for a condominium complex where prices start at $800,000.

Developer Taylor Woodrow announced last year it had bought the 148-room hotel and would build the Sereno, which will have 44 condominiums. The company opened a sales center beside the hotel in January.

The hotel will be torn down in June, according to Tom Tosi, project manager for Taylor Woodrow. The company has its North American headquarters in Florida. It has been building residences for more than 65 years.

"Construction should begin in July or August," Tosi said of the Sereno.

The condominiums will front the Gulf of Mexico. Demand has been so great that the company has nearly twice as many reservations as actual units. The Sereno has four floor plans that will be built in the five stories of living space sitting above ground level parking.

Tosi said that instead of just first-come, first-served among the buyers, the company is trying to assign units by preference. Buyers are asked to choose their desired floor plans. Each buyer must put down a $25,000 deposit. The deposits are fully refundable, Tosi said, and if someone on the reservation list decides he doesn't want the unit offered, he gets his money back the next day.

"Obviously we won't be able to (accommodate) everyone," Tosi said. "Some people want only one (type of) unit. Others are comfortable with their third or fourth choice."

The smallest condominium will have 2,400 square feet and two master suites plus 21/2 baths. The largest will have three bedrooms with a den and 31/2 bathrooms. Prices range from $800,000 to $1.3-million.

Meanwhile, the Holiday Inn and its restaurant will continue operating until May 31. It is a four-story hotel with a nondescript face toward Gulf Boulevard and windows facing the water.

"If you are coming in as a guest, you won't know the difference," said Bill Waichulis, general manager. He said the hotel was built in 1972 and averages about 73 percent occupancy year-round. He would not disclose exact room rates because he doesn't want his competitors to know. He would say only that some are under $100.

[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]

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