NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — The historic Hacienda Hotel could welcome its first guests in more than 30 years by the end of 2019 or early 2020, according to New Port Richey’s economic development director.
- Progress moving along for Hacienda Hotel
- City bought long-vacant historic hotel in 2004
- Renovations expected to be done by early 2020
“You get excited because we’re seeing an endpoint for that,” said Economic Development Director Mario Iezzoni.
The Hacienda Hotel was built in 1926 and opened to the public in February 1927, for about $100,000. Its grandeur was well-known to celebrities, but it hasn’t had guests in years.
"What people don't know is that the back of this property has been sealed up since the 1950s," said Iezzoni.
The city bought the long-vacant hotel in 2004 and struggled to find a developer to renovate the property. That changed last year when Jim Gunderson, who restored the Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora, signed onto the project.
“The big advantage and why we’re able to move so fast is because their construction people are on staff there,” said Iezzoni. “They have experience in this.”
The Hacienda is mostly gutted as of now. All of its windows have been replaced and crews are currently working on the mechanical side of the restoration, which includes the electrical system and elevator. Once the estimated $6 million project is finished, it will be transformed into a 40-room boutique hotel.
“This is the most important project I think we have in New Port Richey,” said City Council Member Matt Murphy. “This is the project that I think is going to bring New Port Richey together, give it its cohesiveness, give it its pop, and it’s a focal point that we can really use in marketing.”
While Iezzoni said ideally officials would like to see the hotel open around the holidays, he stressed that anything can happen with construction. He said an early 2020 opening may be more realistic, and he’s even more confident it will be open by next year’s Chasco Fiesta.
An opening later this year or early next would also coincide with the expected completion of two other major downtown projects: The Main Street Landing apartment and retail space, and The Central Apartments near Orange Lake.
Murphy said city officials are looking into ways to prepare, including adding spaces to the Gloria Swanson parking lot off of Bank St. and acquiring county-owned land behind Bank St. to add spots.
“We have to be ready because we don’t want people to come down here and for there to be issues and problems with the great stuff we have now. So, we want to be proactive, get ahead of it, make sure we’re prepped for it,” said Murphy.