Belleair, Florida – Preservationists have interpreted a ruling by the Belleair commission on Tuesday evening as a setback in their efforts to save the historic Belleview Biltmore hotel.
In a 4-1 vote, commissioners approved a change to the town's land development code concerning the 117-year-old hotel.
The move means that the current owners of the historic site can sell a 2.3 acre plot to neighboring Belleaire Country Club so that it can be converted into a parking lot.
Developer JMC Communities is currently under contract to purchase the property, and has made no secret as to their intentions.
They plan to tear down the hotel and build multi-unit homes, but has faced backlash from those who say the hotel, which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, needs to be preserved.
"I believe it's an issue to subdivide the property so that they can build condos," said Rae Claire Johnson.
Also at Tuesday's commission meeting, a group of developers revealed that it has raised the money needed to restore the property to its former glory.
Gary Rosenberg with Belleview Biltmore Partners told 10 News that it has reached out to the current developers JMC Communities about the possibility of purchasing the land, but has not heard back from the company.