During a luncheon today with the Endeavor Winter Haven young professional group, local developer and Chamber Member Jeff Donalson with Tom Wolf Co., announced the development of a high-end downtown boutique hotel. While many have heard rumors of the development, very few knew in depth details until today. The hotel's site is a combination of a six-story and two-story building in downtown Winter Haven on the corner of 3rd Street and W Central Avenue (310 & 314 W Central Avenue).
The buildings are some of the oldest buildings in downtown Winter Haven. Many may not be aware of its history (I sure learned a lot). The corner parcel (see above with The Haven Center on it) was built in 1915. The six-story was built in 1926 by DeWitt Taylor. DeWitt Taylor moved to Polk County from Michigan in the 1920's to open a banana plantation outside of what is now Mountain Lake. After that endeavor failed, he developed KVille between Winter Haven, Auburndale and Lakeland (actual name is Kossuthville which is Hungarian). H.A. Tilldan, who was George Jenkin's personal architect, also designed the Taylor Building.
The Taylor Hotel has been a dream project for Jeff Donalson and his business partner Kevin Woolf for several years now. Their goal was to fill a growing need for hotel rooms in Winter Haven and also restore the building to be a centerpiece of downtown while giving an homage to this community's history. It ties in perfectly with our mantra of "authenticity reimagined," as has been done with other downtown locations such as Grove Roots Brewing Co. , Gram Parson's Derry Down and the soon to open Tempo 1930. They worked with a Miami hospitality industry consultant who originally scoffed at the idea, but then did the economic feasibility study and urged Jeff and Kevin to moved forward.
The branding of the hotel was an important part of setting the tone for the feel of the property. Tom Wolf Co worked with Chamber member CNP Agency to develop the brand. As they describe it, "Defined by the history in its walls and an authentic sense of place, The Taylor Hotel blends an enviable downtown location with gracious service and executive-level amenities for a hotel that is perfectly situated for business and perfectly suited for everyone."
The 75-room hotel will offer high-end amenities that include an elegant on-site restaurant, rooftop bar with panoramic views, well-executed conference space and the convenient location of being in the center of the action with bars, restaurants and businesses adjacent to it on every side. There is also space available for additional retail such as a coffee shop or clothing store. Today, Jeff announced that they have partnered with Concord Coffee from Dixieland in Lakeland who will open their second location in The Taylor Hotel. As Concord Coffee is also a coffee roaster, The Taylor Hotel will have its own signature blend.
The entrance to the hotel will be on 3rd St and will open up into an atrium lobby with a grand staircase. The restaurant will take the entire footprint of the first floor of the six-story building. The food and beverage manager will be Marcos Fernandez, who also founded and operates Nineteen 61 in Lakeland's Dixieland District.
The lobby will be grand to meet the upper, upper class category the hotel will meet. Behind the front desk will be an open courtyard in the center of the building. The meeting space will seat 30-60. The hotel will partner with other larger space in the downtown area for larger meeting and events.
There will be several different floor plans available. The rooms will be small, as they are in many urban boutique hotels, ranging from 230 sq. ft to 500 sq. ft.
Perhaps the most exciting announcement from an economic and tourism development perspective is that The Taylor Hotel has signed with a top international chain of independently owned luxury boutique hotels which tie into a major brand rewards points program. This will lend to immediate exposure in which guests can both redeem and earn reward points through this major brand. The brand could not be announced today.
The construction will have an initial $24M economic impact with over 200 jobs. When it is done they are looking at $4M direct impact annually to the local area and an estimated 100 jobs. There will be a significant growth in the taxable value in the property. Winter Haven already had 60% increase in taxable value over the last year in the downtown CRA and Florence Villa CRA district.
Tom Wolf Co. partnered with Chamber Member Boyer Building Corp. to do the renovations. Construction on the Taylor Hotel is expected to begin this summer and take 18 months to complete. Chamber member Citizens Bank and Trust is assisting with the financing of the building. Boykin Management Company will be managing the property.
As the downtown area continues to grow, The Taylor Hotel will be a great place for visitors and corporate travelers exploring Winter Haven to stay and access all that our downtown stage has to offer - food, nightlife, music, art and much, much more.