By Mark McConville
DESPITE its touristic location in the Sunshine State of Florida this imposing hotel is far from ideal for a family holiday.
Eerie pictures show the once-grand hotel that became a hive of drug activity and prostitution, now left to rot.
The chilling images show the cracked, peeling walls and crumbling staircases as the building lies in ruins.
Other shots show a Mickey Mouse mural still overlooking the room he was painted in and writing all over the walls of a room where a woman chronicled her life.
The stunning snaps were taken at the Ambassador Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida by American photographer Leland Kent from Birmingham, Alabama.
“This is an abandoned hotel, 18 years after it was condemned by the city,” he said.
“During the late 1980s, the hotel was converted to low-income apartments, with rooms rented by the week.
“The Ambassador Hotel became the site of multiple drug busts and prostitution raids. In 1992, 50 blocks of the adjacent LaVilla neighborhood were condemned and demolished as a revitilization project. Many of the residents from the LaVilla neighborhood moved to the Ambassador Hotel.
“In 1997, the building was cited for numerous code violations during a crack cocaine raid. Police discovered a hidden closed circuit surveillance system on the fifth floor to warn residents of incoming police or drug sales.”
The Ambassador Hotel was officially condemned in 1998. Plans to renovate the hotel in 2005 never materialised.
In 2009, a Jacksonville businessman had an $8 million plan to turn the abandoned apartments into the Ambassador Lofts which included 50 apartments and retail space.
“Property safety officials found cracked walls, faulty wiring, and locked fire escape doors among hundreds of other violations,” said Leland.
“The owner was given fifteen days to make thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs to bring the building into compliance or face fines and possible condemnation. Some code violations dated as far back as 1991.”
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