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The beach bar and jet ski scene on Rocky Point is going upscale
STEVE HUETTEL

 The upscale buildings will replace the 150-room Days Inn Rocky Point, which will come down starting next week.

The 12-story, 200-room Westin Airport Tampa Bay hotel, left, is to open in December 2006. Next to it will be the 14-story, 108-unit Oasis Rocky Point Island condos

TAMPA - The beach bar and jet ski scene on Rocky Point is going upscale.

Bulldozers are scheduled to start demolishing the Days Inn Rocky Point next week to make room for an upscale hotel and condo tower overlooking Old Tampa Bay.

Hotel developer and owner Impact Properties plans to break ground in July or August on the 12-story, 200-room Westin Airport Tampa Bay on the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

The hotel, expected to open in December 2006, will capitalize on companies moving into new space in the West Shore office market, the success of International Plaza and continued growth of Tampa International Airport, said Impact president Dilip Kanji.

With a private beach, fine dining restaurant and views of the bay, he said, the hotel will compete for high-end business and leisure travelers with Tampa's two AAA four-diamond hotels, the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza. Rates will run from $160 to $190 per night.

Next to the hotel, Impact will build a 14-story, 108-unit condo tower called the Oasis Rocky Point Island. Buyers have reserved nearly all the condos, which range from two-bedroom residences for $350,000 to $2-million penthouses, Kanji said.

Starting business in Tampa in 1979, Impact built or bought 12 hotels in the Southeast under the Days Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn nameplates.

The company sold nine properties, including the Hilton Garden Inn in Ybor City, in recent years as hotel prices peaked, Kanji said. Besides the Westin, Impact is developing Country Inn & Suites hotels in Brandon and Tallahassee and a 110-unit TownePlace Suites extended stay hotel in Brandon.

Days Inn Rocky Point was Impact's most high-profile property. Jet skiers taking off from the small beach were a familiar sight to motorists whizzing by on the Courtney Campbell Parkway between Tampa and Clearwater.

Half the hotel was built 50 years ago, the rest 15 years later. It didn't make sense to keep operating the 150-room Days Inn on such valuable real estate, Kanji said. The hotel closed this month, and Tampa firefighters are using it for training exercises until it is demolished.


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Composed: 04/29/2005 | Modified: 04/29/2005
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