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Belleview Biltmore sale finalized
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File photo by CHARY SOUTHMAYD
The Belleview Biltmore Resort and Spa has been purchased by Legg Mason Real Estate Investors.
BELLEAIR – The historic Belleview Biltmore Resort is now officially under new ownership.

Principals of the buyer, Legg Mason Real Estate Investors, and the seller, Belleview Biltmore Resort Ltd., wrapped up the exhaustive process of completing the massive amount of paperwork involved in the transaction late in the day on June 20.

“The fee simple transfer was completed ... Thank goodness,” said Richard Wilhelm, president and CEO of TRUST Hotels and Resorts, the firm managing the Biltmore, who was closely involved in the process from beginning to end. “I’m delighted Legg Mason has acquired it, and everyone in the community I’ve talked to is looking forward to its future for another hundred years.”

The purchase price was not announced.

Belleview Biltmore Resort Ltd. purchased the hotel, golf club and beach club on Sand Key from the Japanese firm, Mido Hotels, in 1997.

“We have engaged numerous consultants and historic preservation experts in order to develop a restoration and rehabilitation plan for the property,” said Joseph Penner, managing director of LMREI, in a June 4 press release.

“This is a very large project, so we want it to be well thought out,” Penner later added during a phone interview from his California office.

Threatened in recent years by demolition, LMREI’s purchase of the hotel has thus far served to reassure historic preservationists who mounted a spirited campaign to save the Grand Dame from the wrecking ball.

“We have fought long and hard to save all four wings (of the hotel) since I launched my Web site in 2004, so having succeeded in that goal is very gratifying,” said Diane Hein, founder of www.S­aveTh­eBilt­more.­com. “The reality of its being saved is certainly a joyous occasion for all, and I thank the community for their support during for the past few years.”

The Biltmore remains open for what management hopes will be a busy summer season.
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