The historic Don CeSar Resort on St. Pete Beach is moving forward with its plans to develop a 10,000-square-foot conference/ballroom center.
During a City of St. Pete Beach Commission meeting on Thursday, the general manager of the Don CeSar and the selected architect presented the site plans and concept renderings of the proposed conference center on the northern side of the hotel.
“The Don is a historic building in the St. Pete Beach community and as we look at the future of the Don, we want to ensure its relevance,” General Manager Thomas Fraher said during the meeting.
“We certainly took into account the historical aspects of the Don as we look to marry another structure to it,” Fraher said.
The hotel management is working with Georgia-based designONE studio on the project.
Jeff Connell, a founding principal of designONE studio, said the firm has worked with the Don CeSar on renovations over the past several years.
Anyone who would be trying to access the meeting space would have to enter at the Don CeSar’s main entrance. The first floor of the hotel would connect to the new space.
An exact timeline was not provided for the project, but a variance will be required from the St. Pete Beach Board of Adjustment, which will be reviewed later this month.
The Don CeSar is part of the National Register of Historic Places; however, it is not a locally designated landmark and does not fall within the Pass-a-Grille overlay.
The management of the hotel has met with the Don CeSar Property Association, which represents 300 homeowners.
Several residents spoke up in opposition to the Don CeSar’s expansion, stating it would be intrusive on the neighborhood and stated the Don was “an eyesore” and could invest in other areas.