tampabay.com

Krewe touts parade's economic impact

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 16, 2007


TAMPA

Gasparilla parades are about more than beads, beer and booty. They're also an economic boon to the county, according to parade organizers.

On Tuesday they released the results of an economic impact study of the 2007 Children's Gasparilla Extravaganza and the more frisky Gasparilla Pirate Fest. Among the results:

- The events drew 500, 000 people with a little more than half coming from outside Hillsborough County.

- About one-quarter of the visitors stayed in hotels.

- Visitors had a net positive economic impact of $14-million in spending.

The study, conducted by Bonn Marketing Research Group of Tallahassee, is based on surveys of a random sample of people at the events and interviews with hotel managers.

CLEARWATER

Residence Inn to add hotel rooms downtown

Construction on what will be downtown's only major hotel will start within a month, the developer said Tuesday.

The 115-room Residence Inn by Marriott will be situated on a 2.22-acre triangular site at 940 Court St. Rates are expected to be roughly $125 a night.

While the hotel is on the mainland, city leaders say it's crucial to the beach, which has lost thousands of overnight rooms in the past few years, and it offers lodging for those who want to stay near the waterfront.

DUNEDIN

Developer scales back on restoration plans

A St. Petersburg lawyer's plans for restoring the historic Fenway Hotel will come before the City Commission on Thursday 100 rooms slimmer and without a parking garage.

Developer George Rahdert is seeking to convert the 1924 building into a 150-room historic condominium and hotel complex at 453 Edgewater Drive. Rahdert is also an attorney for the St. Petersburg Times.

Rahdert's initial plans called for a 250-unit condo-hotel.

PORT RICHEY

Residents sue city over marina expansion

A group of residents on Sunset Boulevard sued the city Friday over its approval for a marina expansion in their neighborhood.

At a contentious hearing in March, the council approved Sunset Landing Marina owner Frank Perrott's request.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the 6th Judicial Circuit Court, says the residents on Sunset Boulevard weren't allowed to speak and were interrupted during the hearing.

LAND O'LAKES

Athenian Academy wins okay to expand

The Athenian Academy charter school used a three-week delay to convince Pasco School Board officials that the school deserves to expand.

The elementary school, which focuses on Greek and Spanish languages in addition to a regular curriculum, got the School Board's blessing Tuesday to add a sixth-grade class.

District officials had frowned on the idea a few weeks ago, noting the academy had not drawn as many students as anticipated.