Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City Council approves parking garage on Clearwater Beach

CLEARWATER— An agreement to build a seven-story parking garage on Clearwater Beach, which has been opposed by some nearby residents, received unanimous approval Wednesday by the City Council.

The proposal has angered some residents, many of whom live in the Sandpearl and Mandalay Beach Club condo towers. Several people spoke against the project at the meeting, saying a garage would lead to congestion on the streets and in beach access points.

They pleaded for the council to take more time to study the issue.

"Maybe we should have a garage . . . but it should be done in the right way, not in a hasty manner," said Robert Prast.

A roughly equal number of business owners and other supporters said the garage is needed for beach workers and patrons of the Mandalay business district.

Council members agreed, saying the popularity and development on the beach required more parking.

"We're victims of our own success," said council member Hoyt Hamilton.

Paradise Group, LLC, a Safety Harbor developer, wants to build a 642-space garage behind the Pelican Walk Plaza on Mandalay Avenue and Baymont Street.

Paradise would build the garage and the city would pay $11.3 million for 450 spaces in July 2016 once its financial obligation to the Surfstyle garage ends. Until then, the city would guarantee $250,000 of operating losses if the garage fails to gross $1.25 million.

The idea for a garage on north beach has been floating around for the better part of a decade. Previous plans to build a garage behind Pelican Walk fell through.

The developer, Michael Connor, a Sandpearl resident, has said he hopes to open the garage in 2015.

His option to buy the property expires this month. On Wednesday, the city council approved a purchase agreement for its portion of the garage.

The city plans to pay for it with parking fund revenue generated by fines and money collected by meters.

Mayor George Cretekos said some residents' concerns about the garage attracting crime were overblown. He said a Memorial Day shooting in a garage on the beach was an isolated incident.

"I think this is the right thing to do," he said.

Charlie Frago can be reached at or (727) 445-4159. Follow him on Twitter @CharlieFrago

City Council approves parking garage on Clearwater Beach 06/04/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: A proud moment for civic involvement in Hillsborough County


    It took private citizens less than 24 hours to do what their elected leaders in Hillsborough County could not for the past three months: Find the moral fortitude and the money to move a century-old Confederate war memorial from outside the county courthouse. Thursday's achievement was a lesson in leadership to county …

    The Hillsborough County Commission dithered for three months over moving the Memoria in Aeterna monument from the old county courthouse.
  2. Fort Myers woman arrested for doing cocaine off iPhone in parent pick-up line

    Bizarre News

    A Fort Myers woman was arrested Tuesday after police saw her snorting cocaine off her iPhone while in the parent pick-up line at a Lee County middle school.

    Christina Hester, 39, faces two different drug-related charges, according to police records. [Lee County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic


    UPDATE: At 5 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  4. Editorial: Pinellas should join lawsuit challenging new state law


    The Florida Legislature has been on a cynical, constitutionally dubious quest to render local school boards powerless. The most direct assault is a new state law that strips school boards of much of their authority when it comes to the creation and funding of charter schools. It's time for the Pinellas County School …

  5. Editorial: Fix funding unfairness in Florida foster care system


    Many of the children in Florida's foster care system already have been failed by their parents. The last thing these kids need is to be failed by bureaucracy, too, and yet that's exactly what appears to be happening because of a needlessly rigid funding formula set up by the Florida Legislature. Child welfare agencies …

    The Legislature may have had good intentions when it came up with the funding plan, but it’s obvious that there is some unfairness built into it. The funding may be complicated, but the goal is simple: Making sure every child in need gets the help he or she needs.