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Here are the five proposals for Clearwater’s downtown waterfront

Four developers propose a mix of retail, residential and hotel projects. The fifth bidder, the Church of Scientology, wants to buy one property for private use.
Clearwater officials on Wednesday released the five proposals received from bidders wanting to build on three city-owned sites surrounding the downtown waterfront.
Clearwater officials on Wednesday released the five proposals received from bidders wanting to build on three city-owned sites surrounding the downtown waterfront. [ City of Clearwater ]
Published May 12
Updated May 12

CLEARWATER — Officials on Wednesday released five proposals they received from groups wanting to build on city-owned parcels around the soon-to-be transformed downtown waterfront.

On April 20, an evaluation committee selected two finalists: Jupiter-based City Center Development and West Palm Beach-based SROA Capital. The City Council will interview the two firms on Monday, and the committee will make a recommendation on June 3, according to assistant city manager Michael Delk.

But the council will have ultimate say and can consider all five bids, Delk said.

The proposals became public on Wednesday because state law requires bids to be unsealed no later than 30 days after the close of the solicitation period.

The city asked for residential, hotel and retail projects on three bluff sites: a 1.4-acre lot at the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue that housed the now-demolished Harborview Center; the 2.6-acre vacant City Hall on Osceola Avenue; and an adjacent 1.2-acre Pierce Street lot.

The three parcels border the city-owned 22-acre waterfront where officials expect to break ground this month on Imagine Clearwater, a $64 million park with an amphitheater and canopy over 4,000 seats, lawn, garden, trail, playground and plaza.

The sale or lease of the Harborview site and City Hall (but not the Pierce Street lot) will require voter approval.

City Center Development Group

Craig Govan leads this team, proposing a two-story, 18,000-square foot food hall and brewery for the Harborview site with floor-to-ceiling windows to give visitors a clear view of the waterfront park. It includes a 400-space parking garage on the surface lot serving the adjacent Main Library.

Govan proposes a 207-unit workforce housing project on the City Hall site in partnership with Altamonte Springs-based Wendover Housing Partners and TCII Capital. The ground floor would include a 20,000-square-foot grocery, 8,000 square feet of retail and a 6,000-square-foot restaurant space. The site would also include a 600-space parking garage.

City Center Development's rendering of its food hall and brewery for the Harborview site.
City Center Development's rendering of its food hall and brewery for the Harborview site. [ City of Clearwater ]

Govan proposes up to a six-story, 100-room Hilton Hotel for the Pierce Street site. The site would be developed with GF Hotels & Resorts, a Philadelphia-based company that is also working with Govan on the ongoing $100 million, 35-acre Apopka City Center.

Govan is offering to buy the Pierce Street site for $4 million and will ask the city for $2.5 million for 100 public parking spaces in the hotel’s garage. He is offering to lease the Harborview site for up to $110,000 per year and to lease the City Hall site for up to $250,000 per year.

SROA Capital

SROA Capital is teaming up with Holabird and Root architects and ARGO construction management, the same trio that submitted a proposal in January to redevelop St. Petersburg’s 86-acre Tropicana Field site.

Their bid for the Harborview site includes 200 units of workforce housing, 20,000 square feet of cultural space and 20,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space, along with 250 parking spaces.

They propose 216 units of market rate housing at the City Hall site, along with a 274-room hotel with a ground floor restaurant, retail and cultural space. The site would also include 422 parking spaces.

For the Pierce Street site, the team proposes 97 units of market rate housing with 20,400 square feet of retail and 97 parking spaces.

The team did not propose a financial offer for the three sites, but stated they were willing to buy or lease the three properties.

SROA's rending for the three sites
SROA's rending for the three sites [ City of Clearwater ]

Elevate Clearwater

This proposal is led by Daniels Ikajevs, downtown’s largest individual landlord. But the team includes an array of builders, designers and contractors as partners, including Tampa-based KD Keller Development, Missouri-based Sixty West, and Edmon Rakipi and Dakota Brown, experts in tax credits.

Elevate is proposing a 181-unit, music-themed boutique Universal Music Group hotel on the Harborview site with 12,000 square feet of retail space. The hotel aims to double as a cultural center showcasing Clearwater’s history.

The proposal calls for a 23-story, 324-unit market rate high rise at the City Hall site. It would be developed by K.D. Keller, led by Ken Stoltenberg, who has built multiple projects in Tampa’s Channel District. It would include 15,000 square feet of retail with space that can be converted for a grocery. The first level would also have an incubator food hall, where tenants can rent space.

The plan for the Pierce Street site includes a seven-story, 230-unit mixed use apartment building with 6,500 square feet of retail space. It includes 135 onsite parking spots.

For the Harborview and City Hall sites, the team is requesting the city waive all impact and building fees and abate all real estate taxes until 2034. Elevate is asking for a 65-year lease at the Harborview site and to make annual payments of 3 percent of net income once the hotel has reached 70 percent occupancy for three consecutive months. The City Hall lease would be 95 years with payments made after 2034.

For the Harborview, they are asking for $3 million from the city’s parking fund for onsite public parking for visitors to the park and to offset costs; and for a $3.5 million no-interest loan, with $2.5 million to be repaid through the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. For City Hall, they are asking $4.5 million from the city’s parking fund.

Elevate is offering $4.5 million to buy the Pierce Street property. The team asks the city waive impact and building fees and abate real estate taxes until 2034. They ask the city to provide a no-interest loan of $4.65 million with $3 million repaid from the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency.

Elevate Clearwater's rendering of the three parcels around the waterfront park.
Elevate Clearwater's rendering of the three parcels around the waterfront park. [ City of Clearwater ]

Office America Group

This Miami-based boutique real estate company, led developer Ricardo Hernandez, is proposing to build a 138-unit residential project with 3,920 square feet of retail and 191 parking spaces on the Pierce Street site.

The team did not submit a proposal for the Harborview or City Hall sites.

Their offer: Office America Group is offering to buy the 1.2-acre lot for $2.5 million in cash. The group is also asking for a 15 percent reduction in permit and impact fees and $2.05 million in parking and Community Redevelopment Agency funds.

Miami-based Office America Group is proposing mixed use apartments and retail for the Pierce Street site.
Miami-based Office America Group is proposing mixed use apartments and retail for the Pierce Street site. [ City of Clearwater ]

Church of Scientology

Church officials are offering the city $7.5 million in cash for the Pierce Street lot, which is appraised at $5.5 million. Their intent is to build a private pool and amenities for parishioners staying at the adjacent Oak Cove religious retreat. The church did not submit proposals for the Harborview or City Hall sites.

The offer follows the church’s attempt to buy the lot in April 2017 when it was owned by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. At the time, the city offered the aquarium $4.25 million for the lot to incorporate it into the Imagine Clearwater plan.

Scientology leader David Miscavige offered $15 million, which the aquarium rejected.

A rendering from the Church of Scientology's proposal for the Pierce Street site showing before, left, and after, right. The pool and amenities would be for parishioners staying at the adjacent Oak Cove religious retreat.
A rendering from the Church of Scientology's proposal for the Pierce Street site showing before, left, and after, right. The pool and amenities would be for parishioners staying at the adjacent Oak Cove religious retreat. [ City of Clearwater ]