Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater approves new garage for beach parking

Surf Style Retail Management will build a public parking garage with retail on the ground floor along BeachWalk at Clearwater Beach.

Photo courtesy of Finfrock Inc.

Surf Style Retail Management will build a public parking garage with retail on the ground floor along BeachWalk at Clearwater Beach.

CLEARWATER — For more than a decade, the city has wanted to put a parking garage on south Clearwater Beach. The job became more urgent two years ago after the half-mile-long BeachWalk promenade wiped out hundreds of waterfront parking spaces along S Gulfview Boulevard.

After months of delay, the City Council struck a deal Thursday night with a developer who will build a 300-space public garage along BeachWalk. Council members voted for it unanimously even after hearing some last-minute opposition to the project.

"We're doing this because people have been demanding additional parking at Clearwater Beach for as long as I've been here, since 1983," said council member John Doran. "It's been demanded, requested, it's been begged for, and it's been promised in one form or another for a long time."

The garage will replace Britt's Laguna Grill and the Surf Style retail store in the 300 block of S Gulfview Boulevard, just south of the Hyatt Regency Resort that opened earlier this month. The new Hyatt also has a 750-space garage, with 400 spaces open to the public.

Surf Style Retail Management, the company that owns the site, plans to put a new Britt's restaurant and Surf Style store on the structure's ground floor with four levels of parking above that. Vehicles will enter and exit the garage from Coronado Drive.

The company will pay to build the garage itself, with no city tax dollars. It envisions the 300 parking spaces feeding customers into the ground-floor businesses. Surf Style also gets the right to expand its retail and restaurant space at the site from 13,000 to 38,000 square feet.

So what will it cost to park there? That has yet to be determined. The city is requiring that parking rates be "comparable" with other beachfront locations.

Probably the most controversial part of the deal — or at least the part that has sparked the most discussion — is the fact that Clearwater is setting aside $9.3 million in city reserves to buy the garage if it goes into foreclosure within five years.

That has prompted questions from citizens, including City Council candidate Mike Riordon, who called for an independent audit of the deal.

"This is the public's money," he said Thursday night. "I think this is some kind of a sweetheart deal," he added, because the building the garage is expected to cost about $30,000 per space, and other places don't pay nearly that much.

Council members responded that this garage will cost more than most because of the high price of beachfront land, plus the fact that the garage is required to have an more aesthetically pleasing design than the average parking structure.

Mayor Frank Hibbard said it's an opportunity to have the private sector provide beach parking instead of making the city pay for it.

"If all goes well … we will not outlay any money," Hibbard said. "To me, that is a pretty good business deal and that is the reason I'm going to support this."

Council members also think this site is the best option for pedestrians, who won't have to walk across four-lane Coronado Drive to get from their parked cars to the sand.

The agreement requires Surf Side to begin construction by the end of September.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4160.

Clearwater approves new garage for beach parking 02/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]
  2. Mueller casts broad net in requesting extensive records from Trump White House


    WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian election meddling has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director and his response to news that the then-national security adviser was under …

    In a photograph provided by the Russian foreign ministry, President Donald Trump meets with Sergei Lavrov, left, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, May 10, 2017. Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in this meeting, where Trump said dismissing FBI Director James Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him, the New York Times reported on Sept. 20. [Russian Foreign Ministry via  New York Times]
  3. 'We will find our island destroyed': Hurricane Maria demolishes Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — Sleepless Puerto Ricans awoke Wednesday knowing to expect a thrashing from the most ferocious storm to strike the island in at least 85 years. They met nightfall confronting the ruin Hurricane Maria left behind: engorged rivers, blown-out windows, sheared roofs, toppled trees and an obliterated electric …

    Rescue vehicles from the Emergency Management Agency stand trapped under an awning during the impact of Hurricane Maria, after the storm  hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Maria has lost its major hurricane status, after raking Puerto Rico. But forecasters say some strengthening is in the forecast and Maria could again become a major hurricane by Thursday. [Carlos Giusti | Associated Press]
  4. Obamacare repeal bill offers flexibility and uncertainty


    The latest Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act would grant states much greater flexibility and all but guarantee much greater uncertainty for tens of millions of people.

  5. Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign, report says


    Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, the Washington Post reports.

    Paul Manafort, then Donald Trump's campaign chairman, talks to reporters on the floor of the Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. [Associated Press]