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Don CeSar shares a closer look at its expansion plans

Veronica Brezina

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A rendering of the Don CeSar expansion. City of St. Pete Beach documents.

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. 

A rendering of the Don CeSar expansion as seen from the beach. City of St. Pete Beach documents. designONE studio.

“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. 

A rendering of the Don CeSar expansion from an east perspective from Gulf Boulevard and a west perspective from a beach perspective. City of St. Pete Beach documents. designONE studio. 

Jeff Connell, a founding principal of designONE studio, said the firm has worked with the Don CeSar on renovations over the past several years. 

Renderings and models of the Don CeSar expansion. City of St. Pete Beach documents. designONE studio. 

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. 

A slide showing the replicated architectural elements such as the clay-tile roof and white columns that would be incorporated into the new building. City of St. Pete documents. designONE studio. 

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. 

RELATED STORY: Vintage St. Pete: The Mighty Don CeSar, Part 1

RELATED STORY: Vintage St. Pete: The Mighty Don CeSar, Part 2

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rose Hayes

    October 8, 2021at8:17 pm

    I hope they are considering a parking garage. Otherwise, great idea.

  2. Avatar

    BarbraBreslauer

    October 9, 2021at6:16 am

    They already have a square box building on the south side that does not fit in with the rest of the architecture. You can no longer sit outside and enjoy the view like you used to. Such a shame. I used to go there every other weekend for lunch.

  3. Avatar

    Roger BLack

    October 9, 2021at3:46 pm

    The Don is what first drew me to Pass-a-Grille, and now I’ve had a home there for 22 years.

    This is a great improvement over the improvised sheds and dumpsters on the north side of the hotel. I hope that while they’re at it, they will revive the shop fronts that extend under the ramp. Now windows are covered with advertising, which takes the 4-star hotel down to a 3.

  4. Avatar

    A. Willis

    October 9, 2021at3:59 pm

    Totally agree. Does nothing for the beauty of the building or enjoying outside.

  5. Avatar

    Tom T

    October 9, 2021at8:01 pm

    This is a terrible idea. There won’t be enough parking for hotel guest and room for a 10k sqft wedding venue that holds 600 people. Traffic will be terrible and the residents will suffer.

  6. Avatar

    leanne gerhart

    October 11, 2021at10:21 am

    The Don is an “eyesore”? That’s crushing. I learned how to get sunburned behind the “Mighty Don” in 1961!

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