Marriott coming to Pinellas after $30M conversion

Tampa Bay Business Journal by Larry Halstead, Staff Writer

Date: Monday, June 30, 2008

Pinellas County is about to get its first full-service Marriott. The Radisson Hotel & Conference Center on Roosevelt Boulevard is swapping out its flag,expanding its meeting space and refurbishing rooms in a $30 million conversion.

When finished, the hotel will sport 150 suites, 30,000 square feet of meeting space, a 10,000- square-foot ballroom, a new eight-story tower over parking and a different restaurant format. The lobby will be opened up into a great room concept and the grand spiral staircase to the secondfloor meeting rooms will be removed.

The restaurant will change to a modern American grill, but remain upscale, said Anthony Menna,president of Menna Development & Management, the hotel’s owner. Even the exterior willreceive a face-lift. “With the Marriott flag, we will have access to the strongest meeting planners in the world,” Menna said. “We expect a strong meeting business.”

Within the Marriott group of hotels, meeting planners move blocks of business from one property to another as conferences change cities each year. Just getting into the rotation can provide a steady stream of business, Menna said.

The conversion is on schedule to take place Jan. 1. Marriott and Carlson Hotels Worldwide, the current franchisor, have both signed off on the deal. Menna still had 13 years left on his agreement with Carlson, but after a year of talks was able to negotiate out of it for undisclosed terms. He had been trying for years to acquire a Marriott
franchise but “Marriott only became interested in the market recently,” he said.

The only other Marriott in Pinellas is the Marriott Suites Sand Key. It too was once a Radisson. The latest flag change and renovation is good for the area, which is undergoing a reevaluation by both St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park, said Dean Neal, Pinellas Park’s zoning director. One consideration is rezoning the Gateway area for mixed use, including residential. | 813.342.2467