11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Belleview Biltmore Hotel
Year Listed: 2005
Location: Clearwater, Florida
Fondly known as "The White Queen of the Gulf," the rambling Belleview Biltmore is an ageless grand dame that has welcomed presidents, business tycoons, European royalty, and home-grown aristocrats since 1897. During World War II, the elegant Belleview was pressed into service to provide housing for the U.S. Army-but as soon as the war ended, the hotel resumed its familiar role as a favored vacation retreat for VIPs, movie stars and sports icons. Today, the Belleview Biltmore is still one of West Florida's most picturesque and beloved landmarks-and a thriving destination as well, attracting thousands of guests yearly. But as with many historic hotels, their prime locations are attractive to developers who wish to cash in on real estate values by converting the hotels into condominiums. In the case of the Belleview Biltmore, its location on 21 acres beside Clearwater Harbor has prompted the owners to apply for permits to demolish the hotel. They have entered into an agreement with a developer who plans to build houses and condominiums on the site. Protection under local law is very limited for the Belleview Biltmore, and unless someone comes to the White Queen's rescue soon, this icon of Victorian charm and Southern hospitality will be destroyed.