Historic Floridan Hotel Rises to New Heights as Reborn "Floridan Palace"
After the Floridan Hotel rose 19 stories above downtown Tampa during the Roaring 20s, it became not only the tallest building in Florida - but the swankiest hotel around.
It was the home of the famed Sapphire Room - dubbed the "Surefire Room" by servicemen during World War II. But the creeping suburbanization after the war relegated the Floridan to what was essentially a flophouse before it closed in 1989.
And so it sat, until Clearwater hotel developer Antonios Markopoulos purchased the building in 2005.
His son, Angelo, talks with WUSF's Steve Newborn about today's reopening of what is now called the "Floridan Palace."
He talks about the challenges of renovating a historic building - and stories about the old place - including one bellhop who remembers escorting Elvis Presley to his room. A private ceremony was held Saturday night, and it reopens to the public once again today.