TAMPA, Fla. (TBO.com) - Judge William J. Castagna pointed up to the tall ceiling of his former courtroom and told stories of the men who painted the intricate stencil work on the ceiling and gold-leafed the eagle above his bench. Now the room is a grand ballroom of the soon-to-open Le Meridien hotel, and his judge’s bench is in the lobby, delicately transformed into a long desk for guests to work.
Judge Mark Pizzo walked into his former judge’s chambers, now a hotel room with a view of Sacred Heart church — the same view he had while researching cases.
“This stairway here,” Pizzo pointed down a hall, “that’s where lawyers would meet with their clients and have their ‘Come-to-Jesus moment’ about how their case was really going.”
The hotel’s formal opening day won’t come until Monday, butthis afternoon provideda moment for the judges to tour the old Federal Courthouse building, now on the finish line of being transformed into a luxurious Le Meridien hotel.