­

About BonSue

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far BonSue has created 13 blog entries.

Belleview Biltmore Hotel Sold to Developer

The Belleview Biltmore Hotel has been sold to a developer, who plans to demolish 95% of the historic hotel.

When Henry B. Plant built the Belleview Hotel in 1896, he knew what he was doing. His surveyors spent 7 years finding the best property in west FL on which to build. The property he selected for the Belleview Hotel is the highest coastal bluff in Florida (almost 100′ above sea level) and the sun shines there on more days than almost anywhere else in Florida.

Developers have been drooling over the property for decades, and as my late father-in-law was famous for saying, “Figures can lie and liars can figure.” Developers used stilted figures, paid experts and one-sided arguments to convince the Town leaders that the hotel would be impossible to restore and even if restored, it would be impossible to fill. Even though proponents of saving  the hotel argue the developer’s claims aren’t valid, preservationists don’t have the money to hire their own attorneys and experts to refute the developer’s claims effectively. Although those who volunteer their professional services are to be commended, they simply can’t compete strongly enough to forward the cause of preservation.

Add to this mix, the fact that at least two of the Town’s Commissioners have stated openly that they want to see the hotel demolished because they want to buy one of the developer’s new condos, and what little air the preservationists had in their sails is all but lost.

Although there are still two on-going lawsuits aimed at trying to save the grand, historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel, the likelihood that it will be saved is unfortunately, almost nil. As a huge fan of the Belleview Biltmore, the thought of losing the hotel sickens me to the point that I’m not sure I’ll want to continue living near the site if it’s demolished.

I believe I can only do three things at this point:

1. I can hope for a miracle — that one or both of the lawsuits will prevail somehow and the hotel will be saved.

2. I can write my novels in a way that the history of the hotel will be preserved for all time, no matter what happens to the structure, and

3. I can hope the developer will remain true to his word and save at least 5% of the grand hotel, to be incorporated into a small inn on the property.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/realestate/belleview-biltmore-hotel-sold-for-62-million/2224673

 

Trying to Save the Belleview Biltmore

Belleview Biltmore 1917

Belleview Biltmore 1917

 

A group called “Friends of the Belleview Biltmore” is trying to save the Belleview Biltmore via legal channels, but needs to raise funds in order to be successful. If you are in a position to chip in to help with this cause, they (and I) would sure appreciate it! Please go to:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/friends-of-the-belleview-biltmore

Any amount you can contribute will help them reach their goal. Thanks!

Fund to Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel

As everyone who knows me is aware, I am passionate about saving the historic Belleview Biltmore Hotel, which is in extreme peril from developers who hope to demolish the hotel and replace her majestic corridors with town homes and condos. I have just been informed that a group is actively trying to save the hotel through legal channels, but they need funds to move forward. If you are in a position to contribute to this cause, please visit the donation site:

Looking for someone who can write essay online
?

http://igg.me/at/friendsofthebelleviewbiltmore/x/6500159

Thanks in advance!

“Coal for Christmas” now available as an electronic application!

Coal for Christmas small sq    “Coal for Christmas” now available as an electronic application!for Android/Google smart phones & tablets   at the low price of only $1.99! Here’s the buy-link:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.childrenbook.christmas

  Of course, this charming Christmas book is also available in print format through Amazon:          http://www.amazon.com/Coal-Christmas-BonSue-Brandvik/dp/0989646203

2013 September 15 BonSue Brandvik & Belleview Biltmore Newsletter

BonSue-Logo308x54Belleview Biltmore Hotel

BonSue Brandvik &

Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore

 

2013 September Newsletter

 

BELLEVIEW BILTMORE PANEL DISCUSSION – CLEAR CHANNEL 9

 Belleview Biltmore 1917Radio broadcaster, Corey Dylan (of the morning show with Jack Harris) hosts a 1/2 hour program called “Tampa Bay Today” that broadcasts on Clear Channel 9 local affiliate radio stations in the Tampa Bay area.


  This week, the topic of her show was the historic Belleview Biltmore. She held a panel discussion with Town of Belleair Commissioner, Steve Fowler, Jim White, President of Belleair’s Residential Planned Development, and preservationist, Rae Claire Johnson to discuss the historic hotel’s value and the on-going preservation efforts.

   Local air broadcast times are listed below, but if you’re not local, don’t worry. September 16th, the Monday after the interview airs, you should be able to find the podcast link via the “Communities” section on any of the Clear Channel stations listed below.

   The link for the Communities page on 970 WFLA is:

  http://www.970wfla.com/cc-common/communities

 These are the date and times the broadcast will air locally:

 (970) – WFLA-AM 8:30 p.m. Saturday
(93.3) – WFLZ-FM 7:00 a.m. Sunday
(103.5) – WFUS-FM 10:00 p.m. Sunday
(97.9) – WXTB-FM 7:00 a.m. Sunday
(620) – WDAE-AM 7:00 a.m. Saturday
(100.7) – WMTX-FM 7:00 a.m. Sunday
(95.7) – WBTP-FM 7:30 a.m. Sunday
(1250) – WHNZ-AM 8:05 a.m. Sunday

After you listen, let me know what you think!  www.970wfla.com

PEARLS: SPIRITS OF THE BELLEVIEW BILTMORE

Pearls Cover -  Square Design- 200 pxNOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT, E-BOOK & AUDIO!

  Honor Macklin has no idea the Belleview Biltmore Resort is haunted when she decides to stay there while settling her mother’s estate in Belleair, Florida. But the Victorian spirits who are invading her dreams to share memories from the life of a young, troubled Victorian woman aren’t her only problem. Although he was only supposed to be a vacation fling, she has fallen hard for Josh Lancing, a single dad with a clairvoyant, four-year-old son. Also, her mother’s spirit could be haunting the old family home Honor is preparing to put on the market. And now she’s learned her conniving ex-husband/business partner is plotting a coup in her absence. She’s running out of time. If she doesn’t figure out some answers soon, she stands to lose everything from her livelihood to a chance at true love. 
 
The setting for this novel is the famous and currently endangered historic Belleview Biltmore Resort in Belleair, FL. The hotel was built in 1896 by one of Florida’s founding fathers, Henry B. Plant. The author is working with preservationists, hoping to find investors willing to save the wonderful, 820,000 sq. ft. hotel from demolition. For additional information, please visit:
www.BonSueBrandvik.com and/or www.SaveTheBiltmore.com

To buy “Pearls”, click on the desired format: Paperback  Kindle  Nook   Audio

COAL FOR CHRISTMAS

0 Front Cover 2x3 in  When two boys find themselves on Santa’s “Naughty List,” one of them plots to ruin Christmas for everyone. It’s up to the other child to help Santa recover his magical Time-Stopper-House-Hopper in time to save Christmas for his little brother and all the other nice children in the world.

   The simple story teaches valuable lessons about taking responsibility for one’s actions and behaving selflessly, without expectation of recognition or reward.

  “Coal for Christmas” is currently available in print format and would make a perfect gift for the children in your life as we approach the Christmas holiday season.

   “Coal for Christmas” is also being made into an application for electronic tablets. Hopefully, it will be finished and on the market in the near future. With the app, children will be able to choose to read the story by swiping/clicking pages or have the story read to them by a male or female voice.

Below are images of the cover and draft home page for the app. Watch for a release in the near future!

 

Coal for Christmas

this will be the home page for the Coal for Christmas app

Coal for Christmas

This is the “Coal for Christmas” app thumbnail cover

  

BELLEVIEW BILTMORE PANEL DISCUSSION – CLEAR CHANNEL 9

BELLEVIEW BILTMORE PANEL DISCUSSION – CLEAR CHANNEL 9

Belleview Biltmore 1917

Belleview Biltmore 1917

Radio broadcaster, Corey Dylan (of the morning show with Jack Harris) hosts a 1/2 hour program Tampa Bay Today that broadcasts on Clear Channel 9 local stations. She held a panel discussion with Town of Belleair Commissioner Steve Fowler, Jim White, Pres of the RPD,  and preservationist Rae Claire Johnson, regarding the Belleview Biltmore Hotel. These are the date and times the broadcast will air:

  If you’re not local, don’t worry. The Monday after the interview airs you should be able to find the podcast link via the “Communities” section on any of these local Clear Channel stations.

These are the date and times the broadcast will air live:

 (970) – WFLA-AM 8:30 p.m. Saturday

(93.3) – WFLZ-FM 7:00 a.m. Sunday

(103.5) – WFUS-FM 10:00 p.m. Sunday

(97.9) – WXTB-FM 7:00 a.m. Sunday

(620) – WDAE-AM 7:00 a.m. Saturday

(100.7) – WMTX-FM 7:00 a.m. Sunday

(95.7) – WBTP-FM 7:30 a.m. Sunday

(1250) – WHNZ-AM 8:05 a.m. Sunday

 

This is the link for the Communities page on 970 WFLA:

http://www.970wfla.com/cc-common/communities

 

Let me know what you think!  

 

Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore – Book Club Talking Points

Pearls Cover -  Square Design- 200 pxPearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore

By
BonSue Brandvik

READING GROUPS/BOOK CLUBS – POTENTIAL TALKING POINTS

for Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore

 

  1. How might the world be different today if, as Margaret Plant suggests, women had developed their own version of the “Good Old Boys Network” over time?
  2. What are some alternative ideas about what might happen immediately after one passes beyond this life? Do you believe a soul or spirit still exists? If so, do you think the soul can still make choices?
  3. What would you do if a child came into your life with a “special gift” like Cody’s?
  4. Do you think it’s possible that an old building can hold onto “echoes” of people who once stayed there?
  5. Could you/would you incorporate “The Circle” into your own life? How might doing so affect your life and those of other women in your circle?
  6. Do you know anyone like William? Why do you think he is continually unsatisfied with his life? Do you think men like William can change?
  7. If you knew about a dark family secret, would you share it with your children?
  8. Have the lives of women improved since they are no longer automatically expected to marry and raise children? Has their struggle for equality improved society?
  9. Despite societal and technological advances of the last 100 years, some things haven’t changed at all – especially when it comes to human emotion. What are some of those things?
  10. If you were given the opportunity to revisit a memory of one person who has passed away, who would you choose and what memory/memories would you want to see?

Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore is now available in Paperback, E-Book and Audio Formats

Belleview Biltmore & BonSue Brandvik Newsletter

 Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore &

BonSue Brandvik – Combined Newsletter

2013 August Newsletter


My New Website: http://www.BonSueBrandvik.com

http://www.BonSueBrandvik.comI’m sorry I vanished from Cyberspace for the last several months, but I’ve been undergoing the process of merging my two websites into one. While a difficult undertaking, the merging process will allow me to combine all of my interests into one website location: The Belleview Biltmore Hotel, Ghosts and Spirits, The history of  Belleair, Clearwater and surrounding areas, Writing paranormal/historic romance novels, and Writing children’s books.

I will be able to more easily update information about the Belleview Biltmore and add photos as they come into my possession. I’ll be able to let those interested in the preservation of the historic “White Queen of the Gulf” know about activities that may affect those efforts. I’ll be able to let you know where I will be speaking, if you have an interest in attending. I’ll be able to tell you about my books and let you know if they become available in a new format. I’ll be able to share links to other sites you might find of interest. I’ll even be able to provide links to purchase my books and let you know what to expect in the near future. The site also allows me to connect all my social networking sites together. It’s amazing what technology can do!

Eventually, my website: www.SpiritsOfBelleviewBiltmore.com will go away, but for now, I will keep hosting that site for people who wish to delve into it’s archives. Although you can still access the site, you can no longer contact me there and I can’t update that site. Most of the information that is contained on the www.SpiritsOfBelleviewBiltmore.com site has been duplicated on my new site: www.BonSueBrandvik.com, but getting everything moved over will take time. Please be patient.

My new site has tons of technical bells, whistles and gongs. Unfortunately, I am technically tone-deaf, so it’s going to take me a while to learn how to use them to best provide you with all the information you would like to find on my site. Please bear with me and feel free to contact me with suggestions for improvements. By the way, my new site was designed and is maintained by Tim Huck of www.TextToScreen.com. If you’re looking for website work, I recommend his professional expertise. Nuff said.

Belleview Biltmore HotelBelleview Biltmore Update

It’s no secret that the Belleview Biltmore is fighting for its survival right now. The hotel, built in 1896, closed to undergo a total renovation just before the financial meltdown and collapse of the real estate market bubble. The owners at the time, the Legg Mason Real Estate Investors (LMREI) lost their investors and because they had already closed and gutted the hotel, they couldn’t reopen the Belleview Biltmore and simply postpone the renovation until the financial market stabilized.

In lieu of foreclosure, the property was sold to KAWA (Raphael and Daniel Ades) for a mere $8 million dollars, a quarter of its appraised value. Unfortunately, this owner has no interest in renovating the hotel, and has had no qualms with subdividing the property and selling-off valuable assets. Despite heavy fines for violating the Town of Belleair’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, they also refuse to make even temporary repairs to the roof of the hotel, which was damaged by hurricanes several years ago. The Ades Brothers have made it known from the beginning that they have no interest in renovating or operating a hotel. They have stated that selling the hotel “as is” would not provide the best return on their investment. They would prefer to demolish the hotel and replace it with a combination of town-homes and condominiums, leaving nothing behind but photographs and memories of the hotel.

Fortunately for preservationists and those who want very badly to see the hotel restored, the hotel is built of heart pine. When a Southern Pine tree matures, the inside of the tree becomes so dense with sap that not even termites can penetrate it, and over time, that sap hardens, or petrifies. That means that the vast majority of the wooden hotel remains salvageable, despite the “Demolition by Neglect” the hotel has suffered at the hands of its current owners. Furthermore, engineering studies show the building is sound and feasibility studies indicate that restoring the hotel is in the best financial interest of the Town of Belleair (the town that was literally built around the hotel.)

On the other hand, the building has been sitting vacant for four years and due to the prison-like fence that surrounds the property and the lack of grounds maintenance, the Belleview Biltmore property is becoming an eyesore that is not contributing financially to the town’s economy. Other than the hotel, the tiny town of Belleair is almost entirely residential, so this loss of income is extremely painful to the town’s budget. Also, many Americans don’t place significant value on historic buildings. Sure they would like to see the historic hotel rebuilt, but they also  tend to give up easily on that quest.

There is still hope for the hotel’s restoration. A group in Coral Gables, Florida (Belleview Biltmore Partners – BBP) continues to press forward in their attempt to purchase and restore the hotel and a few others have expressed an interest as well. Hopefully, the economy will spring back enough to make investors a little more comfortable about loosening their purse strings for a project that will take a few years to start providing a return on their investment.

There are also successful restoration precedents in the area that give preservationists reason to hope. The 1925 Vinoy Hotel was closed, gutted and fenced-in during the recession of 1974. Located in St. Petersburg; about a 15-20 minutes drive from the closest beach, the Vinoy remained closed for 18 years before a $93 million historic renovation restored it to a 4-star luxury hotel. Hopefully, the Belleview Biltmore will have the same happy outcome and enjoy another century of success, however, it is doubtful that the Town of Belleair will be willing to wait 18 years to save this historic hotel. Therefore, If you have any influence over a philanthropic investor or two, please let them know about the plight of the Belleview Biltmore and do it soon.

“Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore” – Now Available in Audio Format

Pearls Cover -  Square Design- 200 pxFor those of you who never seem to have time to sit down and read a book in print or e-book format, “Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore” is now available in downloadable audio file format. Enjoy eleven and a half hours of entertainment as actress Emily Gittleman reads the story to you while you run errands, drive to work, do the laundry, watch the kids soccer practice, cook dinner, etc. Check it out at: Amazon.com or Audible.com   By the way, if you open an Audible account and choose “Pearls: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore” as your first audio book selection, they will let you have it for free!

 

 

 

“Coal for Christmas” Get a Head Start on Holiday Shopping! Coal for Christmas

My newest children’s book is available in print format on Amazon.com and is on sale, this week only, for $7.79 (regularly $9.99.) This is a great little story about two boys who find themselves on Santa’s Naughty List. When one of them knocks Santa out and steals his magic “Time-Stopper-House-Hopper” the other boy must decide whether or not to go along with the plan to steal Santa’s toys or help Santa save Christmas for all the Nice Children — even though he knows Santa is only bringing him a lump of coal for Christmas!

Coming Soon!
“Ripples: Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore”

Ripples coverThe long-awaited second book in the “Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore” series is nearing completion. In this novel, Lilyanna Thorne checks into the Belleview Biltmore Hotel while tending to her maternal Grandmother, who is at Morton Plant Hospital, following a stroke.

Lily has already suffered one tremendous loss and now she is losing the woman who raised her ever since she was abandoned by her mother on her 5th birthday. Her plight resonates with spirits who stayed at the historic Belleview Biltmore hotel during the Prohibition Era, when the hotel boasted a not-so-secret speakeasy and rum was smuggled into and out of the property in railroad boxcars. Lily shares the spirits’ memories as she sleeps and considers an affair with a temporarily blinded biker in her waking hours, all the while wondering if it’s possible for Humpty Dumpty to ever be put back together again

BonSue Brandvik Updates Website!

Website updates for BonSue Brandvik followers

Website UpdatePrevious followers of my www.SpiritsOfBelleviewBiltmore.com website, you will notice that my new website contains information about the Belleview Biltmore and my passion for its preservation, but also displays my other interests, like writing children’s books.

Reincarnation

In my novels, the primary spirit, Margaret Plant, explains that spirits who have decided not to take the lighted path, but instead wish to live again, can choose to be absorbed into the body of a fetus.  If this happens early in the pregnancy, the spirit may only influence the likes/dislikes/abilities of the newborn child.  However, if the spirit is absorbed later in the pregnancy, the baby may actually retain memories of the spirit.  Many call this reincarnation.

Watch these news articles and then decide for yourself whether or not Margaret is correct!