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Madeira Beach hotelier buys out investors with $33M loan

Veronica Brezina



The Cambria Hotel in Madeira Beach. Photo provided.

Veteran hotelier Kevin Bowden, who opened the Cambria Hotel on Madeira Beach, has bought out his investors and is planning to pump new investments into his latest projects. 

Centennial Bank, which provided Bowden the original construction loan for the Cambria, an upscale brand from Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH), had closed a $33 million loan for Bowden to buy out his institutional investors. 

“It’s been a very interesting environment and we are excited about the Cambria. Centennial helped us from the ground up, and we plan to hold this property for the long-term with our partners at Choice Hotels,” Bowden said. The loan closed in late June. 

The five-story, 125-room Cambria Hotel at 15015 Madeira Way has a rooftop bar with ocean views, a rooftop infinity swimming pool, a newly designed marina with boat slips and other amenities. 

The Cambria Hotel’s pool and bar. Photo provided.

The hotel opened in 2020 amid the height of the pandemic. 

“It was a very scary time for the industry. I own multiple hotels and didn’t know what would happen, but Florida’s economy stayed open, and business came back very strong,” Bowden said, explaining the hotel was temporarily closed. Bowden did receive some funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

Bowden, who has been in the hotel business since 1986, is currently working on developing the Miramar Beach Resort, which entails demolishing an existing 27-room motel and constructing a 54-room luxury boutique hotel.

He is also planning to redevelop the 42-room Schooner Resort into a seven-story, 56-room boutique resort on the west side of Gulf Boulevard. The project is currently being held up in a litigation process, which Bowden said he expects to resolve soon. 

Bowden is working with Centennial Bank to finance the future projects for more than $100 million.

“We feel very comfortable with Kevin. Whenever there’s a construction project loan, there are a lot of risks. We aren’t like traditional lenders who write checks, we are all about building relationships and want to have our hands on the project,” said Michael Kilpatrick, Centennial Bank Tampa Bay market president. “Kevin has always been intuitive, and it’s been easy to bond with him over time.”  

Kilpatrick said most hotel developers will build a hotel north of $20 million and then refinance it and build another product immediately. Bowden, who does own multiple hotels (including the Holiday Inn St. Petersburg West on 34th St. N) is still conservative, allowing him to have more financial flexibility. 

With the rise of rates increasing, projects are inevitably becoming more expensive, yet Kilpatrick said Centennial Bank is seeing activity as it can leverage ratios for the right borrower. He said the borrower may have rate adjustments in the near future and would rather lock into a certain rate today than assuming a potentially larger risk down the road. 

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