Red Tape Stops Restoration of Historic Lake Wales Hotel

LAKE WALES FL (970 WFLA) -- A code dispute has halted ongoing efforts to restore a hotel in the Polk County town of Lake Wales, that dates back to the 1920s Florida land boom. 

Ray Brown says the city refused to renew his permit to renovate the 13-story Walesbilt Hotel. Brown says his quarrel isn't with code enforcement as much as it's with the city mamanger and one city commissioner, who have questioned his ability to complete the renovation. 

Brown and his attorneys are negotiating with the city building department and he hopes to get the project on track. He says city opposition has scared potential backers away... but he believes he can get a four-star hotel with restaurants and meeting rooms going in the Walesbilt in as soon as a year and a half.

The hotel first opened in 1926 and is still the tallest structure inside the city of Lake Wales. 

Photo Credit: Ray Brown

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