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Soreno Hotel's legacy is not lost
By SHARON BOND
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 25, 2000
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Soreno Hotel on Beach Drive is long gone, blown up by a master developer who failed to develop very much and finally left town.
But the Soreno's ghost lives.
A 21-story luxury condominium building, the Florencia, stands where the Soreno first welcomed guests in January 1924. Its developers, JMC Communities, paid homage to the old hotel. They created permanent displays filled with memorabilia from the Soreno, which was the first million-dollar hotel in the city and had 300 rooms on seven floors.
Included are old postcards, photographs, menus and brochures that show the Mediterranean revival-style hotel in its prime. Dinnerware also is on display, as is one of the old outside signs, plus photographs of entertainment figures who played at the Soreno.
JMC sponsored a Florida historical marker that stands outside the Florencia and tells of the Soreno's part in the city's past. The hotel was closed in 1984 and imploded in January 1992.
JMC named one of its community areas the Park Room after a similar room in the Soreno Hotel. And it fashioned arches over the entrance after those found in the Soreno.
"We have a foundation in the past, and our structure is looking toward a bright future," said Michael Cheezem, JMC chairman.
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.