(PRWEB) May 26, 2011
St. Petersburg residents, Chuck and Dr. Kathy Reilly Prather (Birchwood Inn LLC) have purchased Grayl’s Hotel in a $1.85 million cash deal. The boutique hotel and restaurant is located on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg across the street from Vinoy Park.”
The couple plan to completely renovate the hotel, its restaurant and event spaces. “The hotel’s waterfront location amidst the Central Avenue entertainment district is superb,” stated Chuck Prather. “Accessible by car or boat, Beach Drive has a sophisticated, international flavor in a completely relaxed, pedestrian-oriented environment. Our redevelopment plans will reflect that.” Once renovations are complete the hotel will be renamed, Birchwood Inn with the restaurant also getting a new name at that time.
The new owners are in the midst of finalizing renovation plans which are slated to begin in September with completion within a year. Renovations will include a new state-of-the-art kitchen suited for special events and upscale casual dining; new outdoor, café seating; a covered side patio, a newly designed first floor which encompasses the hotel lobby, indoor dining room and bar; the addition of a fourth floor to house 8,000 square feet of event and meeting space and a fifth floor open-air bar and lounge with breathtaking waterfront views. The twenty-two hotel rooms will be getting an overhaul as well. New furnishings, décor and bedding will give a nod to the building’s 1920s roots.
President of Birchwood Properties, Chuck Prather, a local real estate developer, has retained The Arcus Group to provide architectural services and Southwind Hospitality to provide hotel and restaurant management services. The redevelopment team will also include one of the Tampa Bay area’s most respected chef’s as restaurant and menu consultant.
“As St. Petersburg residents, our family has long enjoyed the charm and ambience of Beach Drive, stated Prather. “Lunch at The Grayl’s sidewalk café has been one of our favorite stops. We look forward to reestablishing the hotel as a vital part of this vibrant community.”
The Prather’s purchased the hotel from Cornerstone Community Bank who recently bought the hotel in an online foreclosure. Originally built in the early 1920s, the three-story, 19,000-square-foot building was the largest apartment house in St. Petersburg at the time. The new owners plan to pursue placing the hotel on the National Register of Historic Places.