Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Beach hoteliers say guests want newer, bigger, taller

CLEARWATER — Call it the beach version of keeping up with the Joneses.

The Sea Captain Resort, a Clearwater Beach motel that dates to the 1950s, is two stories tall. Its next-door neighbor used to be the four-story Port Vue Motel, but that has been razed to make way for a 10-story Holiday Inn Express.

The Sea Captain's owner fears that his new neighbor will dwarf his motel and hide it from tourists on Coronado Drive. "We'll be looking up at a wall," Don Eifert said.

To survive, Eifert has hatched plans to build upward, too. The blue-colored Sea Captain at 40 Devon Drive may face the wrecking ball to clear the way for a nine-story replacement.

Tonight, the Clearwater City Council will decide whether to award the proposed hotel 53 rooms beyond what would normally be allowed there. The city allows beach hotel developers to draw units from a pool of 1,385 extra rooms, building more rooms than they otherwise could per acre.

The so-called "density pool" was created in 2008 as an incentive to build mid-sized, mid-priced hotels on the beach, many of which Clearwater has lost to condominium construction.

Eifert has mixed feelings about saying goodbye to the Sea Captain, which is near where a pirate cruise ship docks at Clearwater Municipal Marina.

"Just like everything else, it served its purpose. But times change," he said. "It was originally built as a mom-and-pop hotel, and those are gone. What people were happy with 60 years ago, they don't want anymore. They gravitate to the newer hotels."

If the council gives its approval, the 27-room Sea Captain will be replaced by an 85-room limited-service hotel with no restaurant or meeting space. It would have a 93-space parking garage. Eifert would have four years to begin construction.

"I guess it comes down to supply and demand," Eifert said. "It's hard to make a 27-room hotel financially feasible in the modern economic climate."

To get extra hotel rooms, developers must meet parking and design guidelines specified by the city's "Beach by Design" plan.

The 10-story Holiday Inn Express that is to be built next to the Sea Captain will have 108 rooms — 72 of them awarded from the density pool — even though Paul Gibson and other council members complained that its design looked boxy and that the building would occupy most of its lot, with few setbacks.

City Council members had a number of questions about the Sea Captain development project at their work session Tuesday.

George Cretekos, who's concerned about noise levels on the beach, wondered if the new hotel would have any plans for live music.

Planning director Michael Delk said the hotel would have a pool but not a bar or lounge. He said it would be "challenging if not impossible" for the hotel to add anything else to its small site.

The city sees higher density levels on the beach as a way to build back some of the inventory the hotel industry lost during the condo boom. Officials capped the pool of extra rooms at 1,385 units because the new traffic would be all the beach could handle.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4160.

Beach hoteliers say guests want newer, bigger, taller 01/12/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 5:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.
  2. Rick Kriseman's administration lashed in St. Pete sewage report

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — A state report places much of the blame for the city's 200-million gallon sewage spill crisis on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. St. Petersburg dumped up to 200 million gallons of sewage over 13 months from 2015-16. A new state report blames much of the crisis on mistakes made by the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman, but also critcizes past administrations. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Somalis in Minneapolis on defensive after police shooting

    Nation

    MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police Chief Janeé Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week's shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer.

    Justine Damond
  4. Pasco burglars attempt -- sort of -- jewelry store heist (w/video)

    Crime

    LUTZ — The Pasco County Sheriff's Office released surveillance video Friday of three men trying — and failing — to rob a jewelry store in broad daylight.

  5. State Dept.: U.S. to block Americans from traveling to North Korea

    World

    The Trump administration plans to prohibit Americans from traveling to North Korea, the State Department announced Friday, citing serious risks of arrest and imprisonment in the isolated totalitarian state.

    Student Otto Warmbier, 22, died June 19 after being released from North Korea in a coma.