Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater wants successful developer for lake site downtown

CLEARWATER — It was supposed to be a jewel, and instead it's an eyesore. So now the city is trying again.

On the south side of downtown's Cleveland Street, across from a Walgreens, there's a cramped-looking row of townhomes that back up directly against the sidewalk. Two stories of windowless walls give the compound an unattractive, fortress-like appearance facing downtown's main drag.

Built a decade ago, these 15 townhomes are all that's left of Clearwater's first attempt to develop its large, vacant Prospect Lake site downtown.

Now officials are preparing to choose between four developers who are competing for the right to build a new apartment complex on the nearly seven-acre city-owned site. Current zoning regulations would allow at least 200 apartments there in buildings up to 75 feet high, and possibly more if a developer follows certain guidelines.

City leaders have long wanted to add more residents to the downtown to support its businesses and bring more life to the district.

"We need residential in downtown more than anything — way more than retail," said Bill Sturtevant, chairman of the Clearwater Downtown Partnership.

The city has been trying to get this particular site developed since 1999, but there have been a number of setbacks along the way. In recent years, the slow economy has stalled the project.

"This is a significant project for the city," Mayor George Cretekos said. "We want it to be a showplace."

Most of the vacant land used to be occupied by a Dimmitt Chevrolet dealership. The city bought that property 14 years ago for $1.2 million. Around that time, the city acquired land just south of that to expand and beautify a mucky retention pond, now called Prospect Lake.

In order to square off the development site's irregular shape, the city has purchased a few smaller adjoining parcels in recent years, including spending $587,000 on a 1-acre piece formerly occupied by the St. Vincent de Paul Society's thrift store.

The city recently issued a request for proposals from real estate developers. It got four proposals by the time the deadline arrived last week.

City officials would like the Prospect Lake development to include some retail storefronts facing Cleveland Street, but they recognize that developers may have a tough time getting financing for much retail space.

The city's request for proposals called for at least one mixed-use building fronting Cleveland Street, three to four stories high with commercial space on the first floor and residential units on the upper floors.

"We did not specify how much retail," said Geri Campos Lopez, the city's director of economic development.

A city selection committee will examine the four proposals this month, then hear presentations from finalists next month. In June, the City Council will be asked to approve a contract with one of the developers.

After previous attempts to develop the Prospect Lake site fell short, the city wants a developer with a sound track record and a financially feasible plan.

"In our mind," Sturtevant said, "the most important thing is a developer who can get the deal done."

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

Clearwater wants successful developer for lake site downtown 04/09/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle