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CLEARWATER'S PROPOSED DOWNTOWN PLAN

THE PLAN

PHASE ONE

Start: 2001, within one year of leasing city land

1. Apartments, new shops

2. Public parking garage

3. New library and city hall, bookstore, coffee shop

4. Tavern on the Bluff restaurant

5. Osceola Place, a decorative walkway with a fountain

6. Multiscreen movie theater with shops and restaurant replaces Harborview Center

7. New amphitheater

8. Bigger bayfront park with new harbor boardwalk

(not pictured) Station Square city parking lot on Cleveland Street becomes apartments, shops and parking garage

Start: As soon as the city can get control of Cleveland Street from the state

9. Grand steps to waterfront, lined with shops

10. Cleveland Street beautification, new sidewalks

PHASE TWO

Start: When developer acquires Calvary Baptist Church land at 11 and 13

11. Hotel with 200 rooms, meeting facilities

12. Apartments and public garage replace current City Hall

13. Condominiums

14. Botanical gardens and conservatory

15. Possible projects for more apartments, shops

Start: Whenever new Memorial Causeway is built

16. Pier with seafood restaurant and shops, created from existing Memorial Causeway

THE DEVELOPERS

GEORGE DE GUARDIOLA

President and CEO of de Guardiola Development Inc.

Experience: Developed Abacoa, a 2,055-acre community in Jupiter. Includes town center with movie theater, spring training stadium and Florida Atlantic University campus. Neighborhoods have sidewalks, central grassy squares and community halls and homes have porches to spark interaction.

On the Web: http://www.abacoatowncenter.com/index.html

DAVID FRISBIE

Managing principal of Renaissance Partners

Experience: After a career at a large development company, his real estate firm bought buildings on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, renovated them and leased them to new trendy restaurants and retailers like Banana Republic.

On the Web: http://www.renaissancepartners .com/flash.htm

The deal

CITY LAND LEASES

The city would lease land for up to 99 years at $1 per year rent. Midway through the lease, rent equal to 7.5 percent of the value of the new developments could be collected. Land to be leased:

+ Parcel for apartments off Drew Street

+ Tavern on the Bluff site

+ Harborview Center

+ Existing City Hall

+ Bottom floor of library for shops and cafe

+ Memorial Causeway pier

+ Station Square parking lot

PUBLIC FINANCING

+ City funds: City will pay $14-million for a new library and $2-million for bayfront park.

+ Bonds: City officials say the following financing schemes will have little effect on the city's budget or carry risk for Clearwater:

City could sponsor sale of $15-million to $25-million in tax-free bonds, which would be paid off using new property tax revenues generated by the development. If the new taxes didn't materialize, the developers would have to pay off the debt at no cost to the city.

City could also sponsor sale up to $25-million in taxable "conduit" bonds, which would be paid off using revenues from the developers' projects such as parking garages. If the revenues didn't materialize, the developers would have to pay off the debt at no cost to the city.

+ Special tax assessments: Could be imposed on downtown property owners to pay for new amphitheater building, botanical gardens conservatory and other projects.

DEVELOPER RESPONSIBILITIES:

+ Build everything, including new public spaces and 1,200 new residential units.

+ Cover upfront costs of building new City Hall offices within new library complex.

+ Maintain public areas except botanical garden.

+ Provide parking for development, including city library.

+ Operate new amphitheater, presenting 60 events minimum yearly.

REFERENDUM QUESTIONS

The development plan requires approval in a July 11 referendum, which will ask voters to:

1. Amend the city charter to permit the lease of city-owned property downtown for a maximum term of 99 years and allow the land's redevelopment as identified in the downtown plan.

2. Issue bonds of up to $15-million to pay for a minimum 55,000-square-foot library and possibly 50,000 square feet of unfinished space for either library or City Hall office space.

3. Swap Chesapeake Park ball field to Calvary Baptist Church in exchange for a 5-acre, undeveloped parcel that the church owns on Drew Street. The trade helps the church move to the east side of town and sell its properties downtown for redevelopment.

SPEAK YOUR MIND

CITY COMMISSION HEARINGS

What: Will take votes on the plan's concepts and referendum questions

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

9 a.m. Tuesday

Where: City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave.

TOWN MEETING

What: City officials, developers hear residents' views on the plan

When: 7 p.m. Monday

Where: Countryside High School auditorium, State Road 580 and McMullen-Booth Road

FIND OUT MORE ON THE WEB

http://web.tampabay.rr. com/clearwater/

A group called Save the Bayfront publishes its critique of the downtown plan and city government.

http://www.betterclearwater .com/

A group called Citizens for a Better Clearwater, in favor of the plan, presents its views.

http://www.renaissancepartners. com/Fwhyclearwater.htm

Renaissance Partners offers a presentation dubbed "Why Clearwater?" that allows you to view renderings of its plan and watch short video

clips of future city streets.

Q & A

Q. How much will the plan cost the city?

A. City officials say Clearwater's major costs in the downtown plan will be $16-million to build a new main library and expand the city's bayfront park.

But city officials could spend an additional $4-million to build a bigger library and $1-million or more to reconfigure a downtown sewage pumping station. Clearwater also will pay up to $700,000 to Boca Raton attorney Charles Siemon to negotiate the deal for the city.

In addition, all new property taxes from downtown will be devoted to fund up to $40-million in public projects, like building new City Hall office space.

No one has calculated how the plan will affect basic city services, such as requiring more police officers, as police Chief Sid Klein suggests it could.

The downtown projects will generate new revenues, such as utility taxes, for the city. An economic impact study is being done, says City Manager Mike Roberto.

Q. How much money will the developers make?

A. If Clearwater's project goes very well, George de Guardiola says he expects to earn a 16 percent to 18 percent profit on his investment in Clearwater's downtown.

Q. Will there be enough parking downtown?

A. The developers agree to provide about 3,000 spaces to serve 1,200 new housing units, the library, movie theater and amphitheater. The exact number will be set in talks with the city, city commissioners say. The spaces would be privately owned but open to the public.

Q. How will the downtown plan affect traffic?

A. Plans were already progressing before the downtown plan was created to build a new Memorial Causeway bridge. That will require redirecting traffic now flowing on Cleveland Street to a new route on Court Street and onto the new bridge, expected to open in 2003.

City administrators say their traffic studies show the new route will work.

The developers want to close the west end of Cleveland Street and make a series of "Grand Steps" to the water. The city already is seeking permission from the state to change Cleveland's use as State Road 60 to the beach.

The developers also propose to close Pierce Boulevard, a road that circles the edge of the waterfront around Coachman Park. The developers will have to study the traffic implications.

Q. Just how big will the new main library be?

A. The city is proposing a double-deck sandwich of a facility. The developers will be responsible for building it.

The bottom floor would have 40,000 square feet of retail space and a cafe that the developers would pay to build, in addition to a lobby.

On the second floor, the city promises to build a 55,000-square-foot library, much smaller than the facility that library boosters have lobbied for. The city has $14-million budgeted to finance the project.

If the city can come up with another $4-million, it could build a 50,000-square-foot third floor with an unfinished interior above the library. The floor could be finished later as more library space or city office space.

The city wants to issue up to $15-million in bonds to build the library project. (It will take up to $18-million in city funds, including interest expenses, to pay off all the bonds.)

On the top floor of the building, the city says it will require the developers to build 17,000 square feet of new city hall office space, 10,000 square feet in meeting rooms and a new City Commission auditorium.

Q. How would the developers run the new amphitheater?

A. City officials would give the developers a license to operate a minimum of 60 events yearly in the city amphitheater, possibly working with Ruth Eckerd Hall or another major Florida concert promotion company. The developers would also have the right to put on shows for any other private promoter.

Sources: Downtown Master Plan, tentative terms sheet for downtown redevelopment deal and interviews with developers, city commissioners and city administrators.

This view of the downtown waterfront looking east shows the properties affected by the proposed plan. From left, they are: Coachman Park, Harborview Center, Calvary Baptist Church and City Hall.

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