Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater rejects 15-story beachfront Hampton Inn

CLEARWATER — In a close vote, the City Council on Thursday night rejected a 15-story Hampton Inn & Suites proposed for the south end of Clearwater Beach.

Although the city says it's hungry for more beach hotels, three of the five council members felt that the proposed 116-room hotel was just too big. They thought it was too much for the site, which is currently a parking lot between two other hotels on Clearwater Pass not far from the Sand Key Bridge.

The vote was a stinging defeat for local developer Steve Page, who said he spent $170,000 developing the plan, including a $72,000 nonrefundable Hampton Inn franchise agreement.

"The Hampton Inn would have been a great prize for the beach," he said as he walked out of City Hall. "That's the end of that."

The hotel received vocal support from the two newest council members, Jay Polglaze and Doreen Hock-DiPolito, who have been in office for a year. They noted that the proposal was created in close consultation with Clearwater's own planning staff. City staffers said the project met city codes and complied with Clearwater's blueprint for beach redevelopment, called Beach by Design.

However, Mayor George Cretekos, Vice Mayor Paul Gibson and council member Bill Jonson voted no, saying they wanted to avoid a concrete canyon effect on Clearwater Beach.

They also disapproved of the way the proposal divided the existing Quality Hotel at 655 S Gulfview Blvd. and its parking lot into two separate properties. Planners described this as a "creative" strategy to get permission to build more hotel rooms under the city's development rules.

The Hampton Inn would have been built on the Quality Hotel's parking lot, and both hotels would have then shared the Hampton's 245-space parking garage. The Hampton would have had 10 floors of hotel rooms over five levels of parking.

Neighboring property owners and a few Clearwater Beach residents came to Thursday night's meeting to oppose the project.

Jay Keyes of the Clearwater Beach Association recalled that City Council members have publicly regretted the canyon effect created by development on nearby Brightwater Drive.

Janet Nassif, board president of the 12-story Continental Towers condos nearby, said of the proposed 15-story hotel, "We do have the beginning here of a concrete canyon."

Longtime Clearwater Beach activist Anne Garris compared the barrier island to a beautiful woman who "doesn't have to take the first guy that comes along."

"If the council does not have the authority to say no, then why are we here? Where are we, the taxpayers, represented?" she asked the City Council. "There's a rumor that you all may get sued if you turn this down. I say it's my tax money — go for it."

Page previously built the Westview Grande Condo on Indian Shores and recently won approval to build Madeira Beach's first new hotel in decades, a 90-room Courtyard by Marriott.

After hearing his Clearwater proposal get blasted, Page said he had worked within the city's guidelines in consultation with the city's staff, working to meet all of the traffic, environmental and zoning requirements. "That's all I have to go by," he said.

"It's a long, coordinated effort to get here. It's a very coordinated effort with the city," he told the council members who were about to give him the thumbs-down.

On the council, Polglaze worried about what kind of message the city was sending to developers. He argued that the arrival of a Hampton Inn would fit the city's long-stated strategy of attracting more mid-priced hotels to Clearwater Beach.

"Not everybody can afford to stay at the Hyatt and the Sandpearl," he said.

"It was designed to be a tourist district," Polglaze said of S Gulfview Boulevard. "If you're afraid of the canyon effect, you're on the wrong side of the street. You need to be on the beach."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to

. Fast facts

Other business

The City Council also did the following Thursday night:

Dental clinic: The city agreed to allow the nonprofit Community Dental Clinic to occupy the vacant half of the North Greenwood police substation at 1310 Martin Luther King Ave. The clinic has grant money to renovate the location, which will serve the Clearwater area's working poor.

Crest Lake bathrooms: About 30 people showed up to ask the city to reopen the public restrooms next to the playground at Crest Lake Park, which were welded shut last summer during the city's crackdown on the homeless. The council said it plans to discuss the park sometime in March.

Clearwater rejects 15-story beachfront Hampton Inn 02/22/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 7:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. 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]