CLEARWATER — Two hotels that were familiar sights on Clearwater Beach, the Adams Mark and the Spyglass Resort, got knocked down to make way for major new projects.
Both of those projects won approval Tuesday from a city development board, but you can probably expect to see one of them under construction much sooner than the other.
On the old Adams Mark property, an international hotel company plans to build a crescent-shaped, 15-story beachfront hotel. That may happen relatively soon.
But on the Spyglass property, a megaproject called the Clearwater Beach Resort & Hotel is facing delays because of the weak economy.
"It's very difficult to say when it will begin. The economic times are challenging," said Dr. Kiran Patel, the Tampa entrepreneur and philanthropist who's building the $250-million project. "We'd like to start tomorrow, but we just have to wait until the market conditions make it possible."
Next month, Patel and his partners will ask the Clearwater City Council to give them an extension on their deadline to start construction. In return, city officials may require them to spruce up the temporary parking lot that's there in the meantime.
"Right now it's a dirt lot. It's on a pretty prominent part of BeachWalk, and it's an eyesore," Mayor Frank Hibbard said. He and other officials would prefer to see a paved, landscaped lot similar to the city lot at Pier 60 nearby.
Patel said in an interview Tuesday that he's willing to cooperate with the city.
He was at a meeting of the city's Community Development Board, which approved his project and another one on Clearwater Beach after debating whether they have enough parking in their plans. Here are the details on both:
Ocean Properties site: For nearly 30 years, the 14-story Adams Mark was a local landmark at 430 S Gulfview Blvd. It was demolished three years ago to make way for a condo tower. That didn't work out due to the troubled housing market.
Ocean Properties, an international hotel developer and manager that operates more than 100 hotels, intends to build a 230-room hotel on the site with a restaurant, bar, ballroom and five-story garage.
"They are very strong financially, and my sense is they're going ahead in the very near term," said Ed Armstrong, a Clearwater attorney representing the company. "I think they're anxious to proceed."
Clearwater Beach Resort & Hotel: Where the Spyglass recently stood at the split of S Gulfview and Coronado Drive, Patel is planning a 900,000-square-foot project — a pair of 150-foot-tall towers connected by a 95-foot-tall building.
It was originally going to be mostly condos, but then the condo market collapsed. On Tuesday, the Community Development Board approved a new design mapping out 250 hotel rooms and suites and 200 weekly time-share rooms.
Developers will now ask the city for an extension — a construction start date in 2011 rather than 2010.
Patel says he still intends to build the resort: "The sooner, the better."
Mike Brassfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4160.