BELLEAIR (FOX 13) - Clare Bennett was not looking for anything in particular when she stopped by Schiller's Architectural Artifacts in Tampa. But items with a particular tag, "Belleview Biltmore", quickly caught her attention.
"I've been there before, I spent my teen years in Clearwater and I know that it has historical significance" she said. "I'm attracted to architectural artifacts- salvage, for the history that it brings, that it could potentially could bring to my home."
Larry Schiller told FOX 13 it took a lot of pestering to convince the new owners or the former "world's largest wooden structure" they possessed a lot of salvage material.
The former Belleview Biltmore Hotel is now slowly being demolished. Only the original footprint will be moved and restored into a boutique hotel, which will feature some of the remnants. But literally thousands of items are finding their way to Tampa.
"All those doors, that whole wall, is Biltmore and that's the style of the door" Schiller pointed out, adding there are pallets of doors stored elsewhere.
"I have 1,700 doors of all different kinds" he said, including elevator and boiler doors.
And windows? "Probably 2,000" Schiller said.
Transoms, which are long, narrow windows formerly installed above room doors, are especially popular. "Everybody bought them as a picture frame. I only have a couple left. We sold probably a hundred of them," Schiller said.
Repurposing is not unusual. "There's a lot of bars, and all these new breweries going up, that bought a lot of this stuff even just for decorative art on the wall," Schiller said.
There are sinks and valve handles and postcards and room keys and a long list of other items, with more arriving as the demolition proceeds.
Schiller expects to have doors and windows around for quite a while.