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Downtown Federal Courthouse to be New 'Le Meridien Hotel'

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Hotel Partners representatives broke ground Wednesday on the Old Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa. They're renovating it into a four-star hotel.

The building has been closed since 1998, but in another 14 months and $25 million later, it will open again as "Le Meridien."

The leaders of the project are the Development Service Group from Memphis. Owner Gary Prosterman said the building fits the image of the hotel brand.

"The DNA of Le Meredien is a chic design with innovative program to combine the old with the new," Prosterman said. "It's a timeless and beautiful piece of architecture that is going to make a great hotel."

The finished project will have 130 rooms, a restaurant with outside dinning and a secret garden.

One of the people having a part in this restoration project is Tampa historic restoration manager Dennis Fernandez. He said the building stood out during its time from the other wood framed buildings. 

The courthouse was made out of granite and terra cotta brick.

"It really had a goal of showing stability not only with the city itself but with the federal government as well," Fernandez said.

As it stands, the building flaunts 20 foot high ceilings, marble and three-story columns.