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Here are the 3 groups bidding to transform Clearwater’s downtown bluff

Their proposals call for living space, retail and public areas overlooking the waterfront.
A rendering from The Bluffs, one of three development groups bidding to build on two parcels along the downtown Clearwater waterfront. The image shows a hotel in the top center of the frame and two apartment towers to the right, with both projects overlooking a revitalized Coachman Park.
A rendering from The Bluffs, one of three development groups bidding to build on two parcels along the downtown Clearwater waterfront. The image shows a hotel in the top center of the frame and two apartment towers to the right, with both projects overlooking a revitalized Coachman Park. [ The Bluffs development group ]
Published Jun. 10

CLEARWATER — Bordering the waterfront park now undergoing an $84 million makeover are two parcels that city officials believe could bring the people and businesses needed to help awaken downtown.

The site of the now-demolished Harborview Center, at the corner of Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street, is a 1.4-acre lot overlooking Coachman Park and the Intracoastal waterway. A half block south is the 2.6-acre parcel with the now-vacant City Hall.

City officials on Friday released portions of three proposals received in response to their request for retail, apartment and hotel projects for the sites. The development groups include: Elevate Clearwater, a large team that includes Channelside developer Ken Stoltenberg; Chicago-based GSP Development; and The Bluffs, comprised of New York-based Gotham Organization and The DeNunzio Group of Pinellas County.

The groups will present their proposals to the Clearwater City Council at a work session Monday. The council is expected to select a group to begin negotiations with on Thursday or Friday. The city will have to approve a development agreement by the end of July in order to get the proposal on the November ballot for voter approval.

The city withheld most financial details Friday, including the amount each developer is offering to pay the city for the two sites and any incentives they are seeking.

City consultant Amanda Thompson said the financial data is confidential until the council selects a finalist but that she expects the groups to detail their offers during the presentations on Monday.

Here is a look at what each development team proposed:

Elevate Clearwater

Elevate Clearwater proposes building a 200-room hotel with a speakeasy and fine dining on the Harborview site on the corner of Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street.
Elevate Clearwater proposes building a 200-room hotel with a speakeasy and fine dining on the Harborview site on the corner of Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street. [ Elevate Clearwater ]

This team lists eight partners as its developers and contractor across the two sites, including Ken Stoltenberg, who has built multiple projects in Tampa’s Channel District; Atlanta-based ECI Group; and Clearwater investor Daniels Ikajevs.

They propose 388 apartments and townhomes in a 24-story building for the City Hall site developed by Stoltenberg and ECI Group. The site would have 20,000 square feet of retail space for a possible grocer or fitness center. The concept calls for eight additional retail spaces on the first and potentially second floor.

The plan includes an incubator for “culinary entrepreneurs” and a courtyard connecting to the revitalized Coachman Park that would offer views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Kimley Horn, a prominent planning and design firm, is also a partner in the proposal.

The Harborview site would be transformed into a 200-room hotel operated by Experiential Ventures Hospitality and built by Solaris Development. The site would include a speakeasy and fine dining.

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The group’s proposal has a focus on creating a “15-minute neighborhood” with housing, transportation and entertainment within the district. It also has a focus on sustainability throughout the design.

GSP Development

This rendering was part of a proposal submitted by GSP Development for the Harborview site, one of two locations on Clearwater's downtown waterfront that city officials are trying to redevelop. The company is proposing more than 500 rental units plus nearly 22,000 square feet of retail and public gathering space. [Courtesy of GSP Development]
This rendering was part of a proposal submitted by GSP Development for the Harborview site, one of two locations on Clearwater's downtown waterfront that city officials are trying to redevelop. The company is proposing more than 500 rental units plus nearly 22,000 square feet of retail and public gathering space. [Courtesy of GSP Development]

This Illinois-based real estate firm is led by Lawrence Debb, who in 2020 renovated a long-abandoned condo on Cleveland Street into the $55 million 100 Apex apartment building.

He proposes building 504 rental units across the two parcels. The Harborview site would include 16,900 square feet with two restaurants, pop-up space and high end retail. The City Hall site would include 4,850 square feet of high-end retail with “space for civic, cultural and nonprofit organizations.”

Debb’s proposal indicates that it would generate a financial return for the city and include 75 ground-level public parking spaces for use by the city and nearby Main Library.

GSP Development partnered with Kimmich Smith Architecture of Tampa for its proposal.

The Bluffs

The Bluffs development group proposes two, 27-story apartment towers on the former City Hall site near the downtown waterfront.
The Bluffs development group proposes two, 27-story apartment towers on the former City Hall site near the downtown waterfront. [ The Bluffs development group ]

This proposal touts Gotham’s “big city development experience,” which has worked on some of the largest public-private partnerships in New York City. The DeNunzio Group’s local experience in Pinellas includes office and residential projects in St. Petersburg and hotels in Clearwater Beach and Madeira Beach.

For the Harborview site, The Bluffs proposes a 13-story, 150-room hotel with 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a conference center, a rooftop bar and pool, and a below-ground garage.

The group envisions two, 27-story towers with 600 rental units for the City Hall site with 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 600 below-ground parking spaces.

The group has secured design firm Stantec, which the city hired for the design on the $84 million renovation of Coachman Park that is now under construction.

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