J.C. Newman Cigar Company has recently announced plans to restore the historic Sanchez y Haya hotel across the street from its El Reloj factory. The company acquired the abandoned building and will now go through a restoration process that will include a new hotel, restaurant, and cigar lounge. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2023.
The Sanchez y Haya Hotel was built in 1910 by Serafin Sanchez and Ignacio Haya who are a also credited for building the first cigar factory in Tampa in 1885.
“Last year, we restored our iconic El Reloj cigar factory and created the premier cigar destination in the United States,” said Drew Newman, general counsel of J.C. Newman Cigar Company. “We opened a new three-level cigar museum, interactive theater showing old cigar films, and space to host cigar-friendly events. We offer guided factory tours and are about to open our Rolling School where we will teach cigar enthusiasts to roll and blend their own cigars.”
“My family and I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who want to visit El Reloj,” said Newman. “We realized that we need to provide more amenities to host our visitors. Restoring the historic Sanchez y Haya hotel will help us welcome even more cigar lovers to Tampa’s Ybor City cigar district.”
As a part of the project, J.C. Newman must also relocate a large colony of as many as 10,000 bats that currently occupy the hotel. The company is building new, custom bat houses for the bat colony in a new park located across the street from the El Reloj factory. Once the bats are relocated, construction can begin.
“We want our bat colony to grow and thrive,” said Newman. “Our bats will become a tourist attraction of their own and will, perhaps, inspire a special, new cigar in the future.”