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City leaders vote to buy troubled Tarpon Springs motel

City voted to purchase Sunbay Motel for $1 million
Posted at 10:17 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 23:28:58-05

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — At a meeting Tuesday night, the Tarpon Springs City Commission voted in favor of buying a plagued motel.

Business owners and neighbors say the Sunbay Motel attracts crime including prostitution and drug use.

"This is Tarpon Springs! There is no excuse for that. No excuse for this commission to allow this type of conduct," said Michael Kouskoutis, business owner.

Michael Kouskoutis works near the motel and he wants to see city leaders address the problem.

"You’ll hear it's a cancer in this community and if you have a cancer you can’t let it fester, you cut it out," said Kouskoutis.

City leaders decided to purchase the property at 57 W. Tarpon Avenue for nearly $1 million and discussed turning it into a boutique hotel or a mixed use project including residential and office space.

"This is a jewel property. It use to be an actually nice hotel years and decades ago," said Dean Cosgrove, business owner.

The co-owner of the motel says he has fixed the problems around the motel and checks who rents rooms at his motel.

"This last year, nothing happened at my place. It's the most secure place," said Peter Fanoudes, co-owner of the Sunbay Motel.

Neighbors begged city leaders to make the purchase so they no longer have to tolerate the problems they see. Two city leaders voted against the project saying it would not eliminate crime just by buying a property.

"It's not a good investment, but for our safety and public welfare it has to be done and if not, what is the solution?" said Cosgrove.

We reached out to the law firm representing the motel owners, but have not heard back.

Tuesday's decision by city leaders goes back to the property owner for a final decision.