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Surge in new Tampa Bay hotels forecast

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Published:   |   Updated: August 2, 2013 at 11:13 PM

Discussions among hotel developers indicate at least 19 new hotels or motels are likely or possible in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area in the near future, The Plasencia Group, a Tampa-based hospitality real estate firm, indicated in a report Friday.

The four most likely sites in Hillsborough County alone would add 1,000 rooms to the local inventory if they were developed, said Lou Plasencia, founder of the firm.

Low interest rates for construction and higher leisure and business demand are driving the potential for development, speakers from The Plasencia Group, Visit Tampa Bay and Smith Travel Research agreed in a discussion before 100 guests at the 14th annual Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association Trends & Forecasting Forum.

"Over the next four to five years, Hillsborough County will experience a rash of new hotel development not seen in this area for the past 15 years," Plasencia said.

"We will see several new owner and investor groups enter the region as the lack of attractive opportunities in gateway markets (the world's 20 leading real estate locations) shifts focus."

He added there would be at least three major sales of existing properties in transactions anticipated to be worth more than $20 million in the Tampa Bay area in the next 12 months.

Plasencia identified four sites each in downtown/Ybor City and Westshore and five in eastern Tampa, including Busch Gardens area, as possible or likely developments. Plasencia said two parcels each in downtown St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach are prospects along with one each in Madeira Beach and St. Pete Beach.

Among the downtown Tampa sites are one for a full service hotel and two for select service, a category whose offerings nationwide in recent years have grown to offer complimentary breakfasts and business services. A new select service hotel has been discussed for Ybor City.

A full service hotel and two select service hotels are being considered near Tampa International Airport, along with a select service hotel a little to the south in Westshore.

Two select service hotels have been discussed for southeast of the University of South Florida along with full service and select service hotel near Busch Gardens. Another select service hotel is possible near Interstate 4 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

tjackovics@tampatrib.com

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