Clearwater pushes for new downtown residences

The city identified six properties with potential for residential development

Jan.January 02, 2016 12:00 PM

City leaders in Clearwater are soliciting proposals for residential developments in the city’s aging downtown.

“You need people to be living here, to use the services and the amenities, for a more vibrant downtown,” Geri Campos Lopez, the city’s director of economic development and housing, told the Tampa Tribune. “That’s a very critical component.”

Condominium buildings have opened downtown in recent years, including the 26-story Water’s Edge. The 51-unit SkyView condominium tower is under construction at 400 Cleveland Street. Another 257 apartments are under construction in the 1000 block of Cleveland Street.

The Urban Land Institute conducted a downtown study for the city in 2014 and estimated that downtown Clearwater could support 400 to 600 additional rental apartments in the next five years.

Following the release of the Urban Land Institute’s study, the city identified six properties for possible apartment developments and has listed them in a brochure distributed to developers, builders and architects. “Our goal is just to get the word out,” Lopez told the Tribune.

Lopez said the six properties are located in the city’s redevelopment district, which could make them eligible for development incentives.

The six properties are just east of the downtown area’s core and include a 3.7-acre site in the 1100 block south of Cleveland Street.

A vacant building in the 1100 block of Cleveland Street is owned by Clearwater Espacio Development, which planned to build condos and retail space on the site of the building. The project stalled during the recession, and city inspectors have since cited the owner for multiple building-code violations.

The city ordered demolition of the building, and in July, Clearwater Espacio filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the order. Lopez told the Tribune the owner is interested in selling the building and the city has had inquiries about it, “so that’s positive.”

The site of the vacant building is big enough for construction of 130 to 180 high-rise residential units plus ground-floor retail shops. [Tampa Tribune]— Mike Seemuth

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