CLEARWATER — Downtown Clearwater faces significant challenges, but its boosters gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate some of the strides that the area has made.
For starters, the Station Square condominium tower, which has stood virtually empty since it opened in 2008, has closed on 18 condos in the past 90 days, said Bill Sturtevant, chairman of the Clearwater Downtown Partnership.
"It shows us that people are willing to look at downtown and invest in it as a place to live," he said.
That news came as the Partnership, a volunteer group dedicated to fostering economic development downtown, held its annual awards ceremony. About 80 people gathered at the Capitol Theatre for the "Momentum Awards." The winners:
Humanitarian award: Bob Fernandez, an organizer of the Downtown Clearwater Farmer's Market.
Most improved property: Divino Italian Restaurant.
Individual contribution: Robert Freedman, CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Business sustainability award: Tony's Pizzeria & Ristorante.
Best marketing plan: Greektown Grille.
In other developments, Mayor Frank Hibbard noted that:
• The Harborview Center will soon come down, clearing the way for something else to go in that spot someday.
• The city soon will add landscaping to Cleveland Street between Missouri and Myrtle avenues.
• The south basin of the downtown boat slips recently opened, and boats have started to dock there. "Is it as full as we'd like? No. But it will be filled with time," he said.
Mike Brassfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4160.