Since a proposal to renovate and expand the shuttered Hacienda Hotel hit a roadblock earlier this year, the New Port Richey government has been stuck in a holding pattern as it explored a different option for revitalizing the downtown historic landmark.
Last week, New Port Richey City Manager John Schneiger heard news that he finds encouraging enough to renew negotiations with the project’s potential developer in pursuit of a new direction for the project. After a legal review, the city manager is ready to talk to the firm about an idea to expand the property northeast into the Gloria Swanson parking lot.
The Story so Far....
In March, the city’s elected officials were poised to vote on a proposal that would have paved the way for the city and the Hacienda’s potential developer, Community Development Partners, to . As part of the project, it was proposed that the building be expanded westward into Sims Park
The night of the vote, Schneiger announced and the vote was tabled.
Shortly after, the idea popped up of expanding the .
Andy Ham, vice president of development with CDP, has said the expansion could be a free-standing building to be created on the Gloria Swanson lot. It could house rooms. The current Hacienda building, which opened in the late 1920s but has been vacant since shortly after the city bought it last decade, could house amenities. Parking could be accommodated at the old Post Office building site nearby.
The catch? The city attorney found an egress/ingress easement possibly held by an outside party on property in the footprint of the expansion. CDP was waiting for the city to find out how to tackle it before continuing negotiations.
According to e-mail records, on June 13, Schneiger learned from the city’s legal team that the title to the property with the easement in question was transferred to the First Baptist Church of New Port Richey in the 1980s. The easement transferred to the church as part of the overall transfer.
When the city bought the church in 2005, the easement in question appears to have transferred to the city with the property title.
“We actually own that easement that we’ve been concerned about, so it’s really about the best news that we could have gotten,”, Schneiger said Tuesday after a city council meeting , specifically in answer to a question from a Tampa Bay Times correspondent.
Schneiger said that he plans to talk to CDP later this week about crafting a proposal for a new agreement to redevelop and expand the Hacienda.
“They’re very excited,” he said in answer to a Patch question.