Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Restoration Effort Afoot for Green Cove Resort

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Restoration Effort Afoot for Green Cove Resort

Article excerpt

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- A renewed effort is under way to restore

the famed Qui-Si-Sana Hotel, which was a gem in its early 1900s

heyday but has sat crumbling in recent years.

Frica Massee, whose family owns the Club Continental resort in

Orange Park and is a leading member of the Green Cove Springs

Preservation Society, has used her own money to obtain a binder

on the property.

And she said she is seeking private investors to join her in a

drive to raise at least $2 million needed for the QuiSi-Sana

restoration, which will require big-ticket items such as roof

replacement and asbestos removal, among other things.

"It is a big chunk to take on," she said. "We will be needing a

great deal of money."

Massee said she has a vision of the Qui-Si-Sana once again

operating as a hotel, serving as a focal point of the city's

social and economic life as it once did. Her mission suffered a

setback last week, when the preservation society board voted

against seeking a grant for the project from the Florida Trust

for Historic Preservation.

Board members were concerned they were about to bite off more

than they could chew, with such a longterm endeavor, Massee

said.

"It was a major disappointment. I think it is a wonderful

organization," she said.

Board President Steve DuVal and other board members could not

be reached for comment.

Massee said she, as an individual backer of the project, will

persevere. Individuals cannot go after Florida Trust grant

money, she said, but they can seek other investors. Even before

the board vote, she had already formed a non-profit corporation

to accept private donations.

"I intend to find other sources for the funding," she said. "It

is not dead by any means. It is just changing direction."

Despite the board vote, she still has the full support of the

hotel's current owners, the heirs of James H. Carey Sr., who

purchased it in the 1970s and renamed it the Carey Hotel. Family

members said that restoring the hotel was Carey's dream before

he died in January 1996 and they want to see his dream

fulfilled.

"We support Mrs. Massee in any efforts she would like to come

up with. We are still trying to work with her. . . . She has

been trying really, really hard," said Veronica Carey of Green

Cove Springs, whose husband, Ken Carey, is one of the elder

Carey's sons. "Papa Carey, first and foremost, wanted the hotel

sold to someone who would restore it."

Before his death, Carey had signs erected on the property

bearing its original Spanish name, which means "Here is Health."

The Qui-Si-Sana was a hot spot in the early 1900s when Green

Cove Springs was a popular resort area for wealthy tourists. …

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