Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater council narrowly approves new beach resort

CLEARWATER — A beach district known for its mom-and-pop motels could soon bathe in the shade of a seven-story resort, as city leaders Thursday dodged criticism to approve the development of a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.

The City Council's 3-2 vote will allow developers to build a 134-room hotel, restaurant and boat dock on a stretch of Clearwater Harbor the length of a football field. Construction could begin as early as this year.

The hotel will be on more than an acre off Papaya Street and Eastshore Drive, a block north of the Clearwater Beach roundabout. It will tower over its neighbors, a crop of old-Florida motels. Dissenting City Council members Paul Gibson and Bill Jonson worried that the hotel could quickly overwhelm its neighbors.

"No one wants economic development more than myself," said Gibson, a beach Realtor. "But this project is too massive. It's too tall. … It's just too much, so I'm not going to support it."

Despite neighbors' protests, the resort also won unanimous support from the Community Development Board last month. Developers will still need to secure building permits before they can break ground.

Approval of the project continues Clearwater Beach's march toward modernity. The city's master plan for beach redevelopment, called Beach by Design, has played a key role. Half of the rooms in the new hotel will come from a special "density reserve," and developers will earn a "height bonus" allowing them to build higher in exchange for opening a public boardwalk.

Led by Clearwater developer Elias Anastasopoulos, Louis Developments LLC assembled the land in 2005 for more than $7.6 million, property records show. Though billed as a Courtyard by Marriott, the hotel's brand affiliation, or "flag," is not guaranteed.

Also not guaranteed: that the hotel will ever get built. City leaders, stung by the failures of Kiran Patel's planned $250 million beach resort and an unfinished downtown condo tower called the Strand, remain nervous that a similar collapse could happen again.

Neighbors said they're worried that the new hotel, with its "tropical modern architecture," could spoil the neighborhood's quaint appeal. A development agreement said three aging pink buildings on the site will be destroyed.

Council members wondered whether the hotel would clog the neighborhood's tight streets. A traffic study found the hotel could bring 1,200 more vehicular trips a day to narrow Eastshore Drive.

William Day, owner of the neighboring East Shore Resort, said the heavier traffic could endanger tourists flocking toward the shore.

"People are constantly crossing that street. … It just is not safe," Day said. "I don't know why we're making concessions to developers at the expense of the taxpayers and the safety of our neighborhood."

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 445-4170 or [email protected] Send letters to the editor to tampabay.com/letters.

Clearwater council narrowly approves new beach resort 07/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 20, 2012 8:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.