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Neighbors skeptical of effort to save St. Pete hotel

Neighbors skeptical of effort to save St. Pete hotel

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (TBO.com) — Developer Mark Tong feels positive energy in this 99-year-old hotel at the city’s western gateway.

Many people who live nearby do not.

In the past decade, this yellow, three-story remnant of the Jazz Age has changed hands several times, one renovation scheme after another failing to come together.

One owner reopened it for a time as a transient lodge, attracting prostitution, drug deals and other unwelcome activities to the neighborhood of brick-lined streets behind it, residents say.

Some neighbors have urged the city to find a way to bulldoze the old Sunset Hotel at 7401 Central Ave., but the 1915 building has a layer of protection as a local historic landmark, and sporadic renovation has continued over the years.

At present, work crews are back on site in full force, installing drop ceilings in its 66 refurbished rooms, repainting the faded, peeling exterior and getting it ready for a new life as an alternative cancer treatment center where patients will learn to harness the power of positive thought to overcome illness.

Tong says the hotel, renamed Crystal Bay, will be open within a few months.

Photo Credit TBO.com

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