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At a May 22 Punta Gorda Code Enforcement Board meeting, Derek Rooney, an attorney representing the owner of Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel, told the board a demolition permit for the property was applied for, and once approved, the buildings would come down within 120 days.

In addition to the five-story hotel at 300 W. Retta Esplanade, there is a two-story addition, which shares a common wall with the now-closed Hurricane Charley’s Sushi, Raw Bar & Grill. 

The hotel has been closed since Hurricane Ian caused extensive damage Sept. 28, 2022. 

Punta Gorda Waterfront HotelAlthough Hurricane Charley’s owner Dean Stainton, who leased space from hotel owner Amer Asmar, was able to reopen the restaurant after Hurricane Ian, Hurricane Idalia in late August 2023 caused flooding, and the restaurant was deemed unsafe by city officials. 

Punta Gorda Code Enforcement Board voted unanimously Jan. 24 to order the building razed and for Asmar to get a demolition permit and put a fence around the entire site.  

Rooney said there was a delay in applying for the demolition permit because the contractor, Orlando-based Peace of Mind Environmental Inc., was not registered to do work in the city; the firm had to register to conduct the demolition work. 

Another delay occurred when a city worker was away when Rooney applied for the permit application, he said. 

Board member Kathleen Antona said, “The biggest concerns we had during the pre-application meeting was there are a number of events on the Harborwalka 5K run and a few other things.” 

Punta Gorda Waterfront HotelHarborwalk is a 2.4-mile recreational trail in Punta Gorda that runs along Charlotte Harbor and the Peace River. The rear of the Punta Gorda Hotel and Hurricane Charley’s abuts Harborwalk. 

She said a number of dates “had to be blacked out” as a result, meaning the demolition work could not be done on those dates. 

Rooney said the demolition work will be “staged on buildings that won’t impact the public.” 

During an asbestos study for the buildings, it was determined the asbestos would not be airborne and pose a risk to the public, Rooney said. 

The next Code Enforcement Board meeting is scheduled for at 9 a.m. June 26 at the Military Heritage Museum, 900 W. Marion Ave.   

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