NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Progress continues on renovations to the historic Hacienda Hotel, despite delays brought on by construction setbacks and COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • Hacienda Hotel expected to open next year

  • Around 90% of interior had to be rebuilt

  • COVID-19 forced some construction to pause, but work never stopped at the site

  • More Pasco County headlines

"I'd like to think that most of the heavy lifting is kind of done," said owner Jim Gunderson. "I mean, it was a little brutal here the first six months to nine months. It was rough, but we've sort of gotten through most of that."

Gunderson estimated anywhere from 80% to 90% of the hotel's interior had to be rebuilt.

"You know, you start to open up a couple of walls here and there, and before you know it, you're opening everything up. You can't just sort of close it back up with the bad situations behind it," Gunderson said.

Then, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.



"The work was slowed down due to the availability of subcontractors," said New Port Richey Economic Development Director Charles Rudd. "So, for instance, if those companies were having those workers stay home, then they weren't available to come to the job."

According to Gunderson, that put the project a few months behind. At one point, it looked like the hotel could open sometime this year, but he said that will now likely happen in the first or second quarter of next year. Still, he said work never completely stopped.

"It's a combination of our people -- superintendent and carpenters and all the rest -- as well as the subcontractors," Gunderson said. "It allowed us to get caught up on a few things to stay ahead of some of those contractors, so when they do come back in, they should be able to work at a pretty good pace."

When finished, the hotel will feature 40 guest rooms, a full service bar and restaurant, and a style reminiscent of its origins in the 1920s.

"Everything from furnishings to fixtures to the whole feel of it will hopefully have a feel of historic more so than boutique-y modern," said Gunderson.

This isn't the first historic hotel Gunderson's renovated. He also gave new life to the Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora, the state's oldest continuously operating hotel. That project was a bit larger in terms of the number of buildings and square footage involved. The Lakeside Inn also continued to operate while work took place. While that brought in a revenue stream, Gunderson said it also meant challenges not seen with the Hacienda project.

"Because it's closed and we don't have to suddenly worry about a group or a wedding that's coming in two weeks from now -- sort of speed things up or put things off. We have time to work through it," he said.

Gunderson also said it's exciting for the project to be nearing its end as downtown sees new businesses moving in and following renovations to Sims Park.

"What a neat, little downtown. What great potential. What a beautiful park. What an interesting history," said Gunderson. "There's so many positives, you know?"