Terrace Hotel, Downtown Landmark, Bought by Local Investors

Lakeland’s iconic Terrace Hotel overlooking Lake Mirror  has been sold to local investors. The primary investors in a five-person group that closed on the downtown hotel property are Edie Yates, a former city commissioner, and her husband, David Henderson.

Yates said the group bought the 96-year-old hotel at 329 E. Main St. a few weeks ago from Terrace Properties Partners Ltd. The price was $7.25 million, she said.

“We’re excited about this,” Yates said. “The Terrace has always been a great place to go. We’re going to make it new, modern and fresh.”

Yates said her company will partner with Hilton’s Tapestry Collection and the name of the place will be the Terrace Hotel Tapestry by Hilton.

Hilton has stringent standards and The Terrace must adhere to them, Yates said. But she said the Hilton flag is well respected and stands for cleanliness and excellence. “It’s worth it,” she said.

Not only is the Terrace, which opened in 1924, a historic landmark, Yates said, “It has open public spaces and good bones.”

Workers will redo the 88 room bathrooms in the 10-story building as well as the two first-floor restrooms.

Yates said the size of the ground-floor bar will be expanded, and the dining room will be a little smaller.

The new ownership has already taken over the building and has hired Naples Hotel Group to manage the Terrace.

“Our team is excited to acquire a full-service property and join the Tapestry Collection by Hilton family,” Naples Hotel Group owner and managing partner Mike Bou-Sliman said in a news release.

Yates and Henderson own two hotels in Plant City.

Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz said he is “thrilled to have local owners” buy the Terrace. “They’re aware of the history of the Terrace and what it takes to improve it,” he said.

The hotel, empty for years, was re-opened in 1998 after having been renovated under the direction of Lakeland native and Houston wealth management executive Rob Scharar, an officer with Terrace Properties Partners Ltd., the previous owners.

Julie Townsend, executive director of the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority, holds out high hopes. “Any time something gets purchased and there is new energy, hopefully it’s a good thing,” she said.

The Terrace is “a source of pride” in Lakeland, Townsend said.

The Terrace will not be in much competition with SpringHill Suites, a recently opened Marriott hotel near the RP Funding Center, she said.

The two hotels attract different clientele, with Springhill garnering RP Funding customers, including sports teams and their followers. The Terrace, she said, attracts more of a business crowd, such as companies selling a prospective hire on the merits of Lakeland.

And Townsend has a wish for the Terrace: She wants the Terrace parking lot off Massachusetts Avenue to be developed. 

Plans would have to be coordinated with the city, but she said an underground parking area, with suites above it, would be a huge step forward.

Townsend said that’s something that would be great for both the city and the Terrace.

It’s already in a part of downtown that’s seeing a growth spurt, including the nearly-across-the-street eight-story Summit Consulting office tower under construction at Massachusetts Avenue and Cedar Street and several buildings recently completed across Main Street from Lake Mirror.