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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2009 11 years ago

Hlywa hopes to submit plans for tourism units

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Over the past six months, Whitney Beach Plaza owner Andrew Hlywa and Tina Rudek, a real-estate agent with Wedebrock Real Estate Co., have developed the Whitney Plaza Project Concept in hopes of attracting a developer who would build a hotel on the north end.

The plan, available on Rudek’s Web site,, lists the plaza along with north-Key properties described as “available.” The properties include the buildings that formerly held the Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce, the dental office of Dr. Robert Gordon and the Longbeach Chevron station. Also listed are Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant & Marina, two lots on Jewfish Key and single-family homes on Gulf of Mexico Drive and in the Village.

According to the plan, the total value of all listed properties is $20 million, and it could be developed into a resort with 100 to 200 “Old Florida”-style units with beach access, docks and retail space.

“The north end is going to totally die if something isn’t done,” Hlywa said.

But not everyone is happy with the plan.

Richard Estrin, principal broker at Longview Realty Inc., is the listing agent for the former Chevron station.
He doesn’t have a problem with the possible resort. But he says that including the old gas station, currently listed for $990,000, as part of a $20 million resort plan could deter buyers.

“I don’t want anyone being misled by seeing that they have to pay $15 million or $20 million for the property,” Estrin said. “It’s available separately.”

Alan Moore, owner of Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant, said he didn’t understand why his property was listed on the plan for $2.75 million. The property was previously for sale for $3.25 million, but Moore took it off the market late last year.

Andrew Bers, sales associate for Prudential Palms Realty, who is the listing agent for the former chamber building, now owned by First Bank, said he doesn’t have an issue with the resort concept. But he questioned whether the plan was realistic, citing traffic concerns and the process of getting town approval.

Hlywa and Rudek hope to submit an application for the plan to the town by Aug. 17, the deadline for developers to apply for the pool of 250 tourism units that voters approved by referendum in March 2008.

Rudek said they are not likely to meet the deadline, because they still need an architect to create drawings of the plan.

According to Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Daigle, no developers have submitted applications for the tourism units yet. If some of the 250 units are not allocated, developers could submit plans after the deadline.

Hlywa has been trying to sell the plaza since he bought it in 2002.

The plaza has been listed with Rudek for the past six months and is currently priced at $6.5 million.

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