Thursday, June 12, 2014

Le Meridien Hotel hosts former judges just prior to opening

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 8:23 AM

The former federal courthouse will open next week as Le Meridien Hotel after renovation
  • Chip Weiner
  • The former federal courthouse is scheduled to open next week as Le Meridien Hotel after renovation.

The developers of the soon-to-be-open Le Meridien Hotel, along with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, hosted a preview yesterday for judges who once presided over cases when the building was a federal courthouse. The 109-year-old neo-classical edifice sat vacant for years, and its renovation is a welcome addition to downtown, according to the mayor. It will become the eastern anchor point for the Zack Street Promenade of the Arts that runs from the hotel to Curtis Hixon Park.

Former federal courthouse during renovation
  • Chip Weiner
  • Former federal courthouse during the 16-month renovation

Senior United States District Judge William J Castagna reminisces about his time as a jurist with developer Gary Prosterman
  • Senior United States District Judge William J. Castagna reminisces with developer Gary Prosterman about his time as a jurist.

Gary Prosterman, CEO of Development Services Group, says the design of the 130-room hotel incorporated as much of the old architecture and artifacts as possible. For example, the registration desk in the lobby is a re-purposed judge's desk. Jail cells have been converted to guest rooms. The area which once housed holding cells is now a pool, and the courtroom on the fourth floor once presided over by Senior United States District Judge William J. Castagna — who was in attendance — is now a ballroom.

Former halls of justice have become gateways to guestrooms
  • Chip Weiner
  • Halls of justice have become gateways to guestrooms.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn lounges in one of the well appointed rooms at the invitation of developer Prosterman
  • Chip Weiner
  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tries out one of the well-appointed rooms at the invitation of developer Gary Prosterman.

View from a fourth floor corner room looks out on to Zack Street and Florida Avenue
  • Chip Weiner
  • View from a fourth floor corner room looks out on to Zack Street and Florida Avenue.

Judge William J Castagna courtroom has been turned in the ballroom on the fourth floor of the new Meridian Hotel
  • Chip Weiner
  • A courtroom has been turned into a ballroom on the fourth floor of the new Meridien Hotel. Artifacts like the old jury box are stacked against the wall. Some pieces, such as old doors, are stored in a warehouse waiting for a place in the new iteration of the old building.

The Bizou Brasserie and Longitude Bar are located in a former courtroom on the second floor. They are scheduled to open on Monday, June 16, according to Lydia Lopez, catering manager. The vibe inside the renovation project recalls one of those house rehab shows where the deadline is fast approaching and the owners are on the way home. Looking at the chaos, it's hard to believe the crew will make its mark, but Lopez is firm with her target date. The restaurant and bar are decorated with marble and terrazzo features, the same design elements that appear throughout the building and give it a vintage feel.

The race against time was palpable as crews rushed to meet the Monday deadline five days away
  • Chip Weiner
  • The press of time was palpable as crews rushed to meet the Monday deadline five days away.

Kitchen and restaurant construction plans await finalization 5 days prior to the scheduled soft opening

New sign for Le Meridian hotel and Bizou Brasserie restaurant
  • Chip Weiner
  • New sign for Le Meridien Hotel and Bizou Brasserie restaurant at the corner of Zack Street and Florida Avenue

According to a press release from the city, the hotel will open on June 16, with a formal grand opening to be held on June 26.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Daily Loaf

More by Chip Weiner

Search Events

CL's Twitter Feed

© 2014 SouthComm, Inc.
Powered by Foundation

Web Analytics