Punta Gorda’s Waterfront Hotel is set for demolition

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After months of delays, walls, and rooms filled with asbestos, the Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel is set to finally begin its interior demolition.

Like several places in Southwest Florida, Hurricane Ian left the hotel badly damaged, but now the possible rebuild project can commence.

This is a project that is years in the making after both hurricanes Ian and Idalia left the Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel struggling to make a comeback.

Delays started occurring after the discovery of asbestos inside the walls and rooms of the hotel back in April.

However, it was the flooding from Ian that left the building as a public safety hazard and fire risk.

According to attorney Derek Rooney, it’s been a long and hard process for the property owner Amer Asmar after permanently closing it.

Rooney told Gulfshore Business that Asmar never wished to demolish the hotel but unfortunately had no other options.

Punta Gorda residents hope that whatever comes next might liven up the area.

Steve McBride, a resident of Punta Gorda said, “I live in Bay Palms and they all mentioned that, they said because I used to come here—It’s horrible. It’s got graffiti on it now and it’s gone ghetto.”

Dina and Nick Ong are visitors of Punta Gorda and are less receptive to the changes, as the quaintness of the area is what draws visitors in.

“We came from Fisherman’s Village earlier that we were there the other day and that’s really nice,” said Ong. Then you walk here and you’re like, ‘Oh!’… We were just walking around the city and we saw the quaintness, the oldness, and trying to keep that charm.”

Rooney mentioned that he and Asmar are hopeful to appeal the city’s code requirement, allowing for the parking lot work to begin on Monday.

Amsar is designing site plans for a hotel that will utilize the new parking lot.

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