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The Project

Before the crumbling Hotel Belleview could be renovated and reborn as Belleview Inn, she needed to be moved to her new foundation. So how do you move a 1,750-ton structure the distance of roughly the length of a football field?


A SMALL, BUT BIG, MOVE

Watch The Big Move

After closing in 2009 and sitting empty for years, the 120-year-old grand hotel on the Florida Gulf naturally fell into disrepair. The wooden floors became slanted and warped. Plaster began to deteriorate and fall. The halls were dark and damp. A far cry from its former life, time and time again, the White Queen dodged dates with the wrecking ball. Until 2016, when JMC Communities, a St. Petersburg-based property developer stepped in, submitting a proposal that would ensure that the historic hotel lived on.

The plan centered around salvaging a three-plus story, 38,000-square-foot section of the original building that included the lobby and surrounding 35 rooms and restoring it in a new location – just a mere 320 away on the Intracoastal. But before the painstaking restoration could begin, the move to set the building on its new foundation had to happen.

So how do you move a 1,750-ton structure the distance of roughly the length of a football field? You bring in the experts – in this case, JMC hired Pennsylvania-based Wolfe House and Building Movers. After eight weeks preparing the structure, on December 21st, 2016, the building was hoisted and moved via 46 computerized dollies over the course of four hours. Sound easy? Witness the feat for yourself in this time-lapsed video, captured by local videographer Chris Stickney.

The Hotel Today

While the hotel is obviously not the same as it was when it was first built in 1897, there are so many preserved portions and unique nods to the past scattered throughout. You just need to know where to look. Read on to the final part of our story “The Hotel Today.”
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