TAMPA, Fla. — First built over 100 years ago, the historic Balbin Brothers Cigar Factory is getting new life breathed into it.
"The exterior will be historic and the interior will be modern,” said developer Mike Desai.
The long-abandoned building currently sits empty on Howard Ave. — but not for long. Developers plan to start turning it into a boutique Best Western Sadie hotel this winter.
Desai said the upscale hotel will have about seventy rooms. The location of the historic factory was ideal because of its proximity to I-275.
Desai believes the project will revitalize the neighborhood.
“We believe a few restaurants will come in and we are thinking some of these old houses will be purchased by developers and others businesses will come in,” said Desai.
Joe Coronado lives in the neighborhood and supports the project, but he hopes developers don’t change the neighborhood’s character.
“It would be nice to see it kept like it is. Keep west Tampa, west Tampa,” said Coronado.