Music-themed hotel plus Amphitheater Clearwater • St Pete Catalyst

Two key Clearwater waterfront sites could be redeveloped into boutique hotels, beer gardens and culinary incubators as part of the city’s strategy to revamp its downtown core.

The city is looking for a developer to take advantage of prime downtown properties – the former City Hall and Harborview sites known as “bluff properties” – which offer unparalleled views of the waterfront. The city envisions the transformation sites could tie into the planned redeveloped waterfront park that a new amphitheater will anchor.

On Friday, the city of Clearwater released the development proposals it received from a handful of teams vying to acquire the properties. The three development teams that submitted proposals were Chicago-based GSP Development; Elevate Clearwater, which includes Channelside developer Ken Stoltenberg, ECI Group, Smart City Group and Solaris; and The Bluffs, which includes New York-based Gotham Organization and The DeNunzio Group, which is a local company that has been involved in a handful of projects in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Financial details of the proposals were not disclosed.

Here is an overview of the proposals on the table

GSP Development proposal

GSP Development is an Illinois-based real estate company proposing to build a 16,900 square foot development on the Harborview site with two indoor/outdoor restaurants, pop-up space and high-end retail.

GSP’s Harborview project theme/inspirational images. Images: GSP Development/City of Clearwater

For the former City Hall site, GSP is proposing to construct 4,850 square feet of high-end retail and 1,500 square feet of “free” space that could be used by civic, cultural and community groups. non-profit.

A rendering of the GSP complex for the Old Town Hall site. Images: GSP Development/City of Clearwater

As part of the terms requested by the city, GSP said it would provide a large parking lot with 75 public parking spaces on the ground floor for the exclusive use of the library and the city. It would also go beyond the minimum of 150 residential units requested by offering 504 rental units.

GSP Development is working in partnership with Kimmich Smith Architecture of Tampa on the proposed project.

The group cited its experience developing the $55 million Apex Clearwater project as a relevant example of how it can transform the property.

The group said it transformed the “bankrupt office building” into a 134-unit condo tower, completed last year, which is now fully leased.

The Bluffs proposal

The Bluffs proposal includes retail, apartment towers and green space offering amenities connected to the waterfront.

The Harborview site as envisioned by The Bluffs. Image: The Cliffs/Town of Clearwater

The group envisions a 150-key hotel and 15,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space at the Harborview site.

The 13-story hotel would have a boutique conference center, seating 1,000 people, located on the second floor overlooking the park, as well as a rooftop restaurant and bar with waterfront views.

The base design of the building features a sloping lawn that brings the public to a rooftop beer garden and private event spaces.

The Bluffs Group’s letter of introduction listed several restaurants and retail partners, including John and Trudy Cooper, Volet Hospitality Group and Sea Dog Brewing Co.

The old site of the town hall reinvented. Image: The Cliffs/Town of Clearwater

Meanwhile, the former City Hall site would have 600 rental residences, 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 600 parking spaces.

There would be two 27-story residential towers with a shared public common area with a pool deck and a resident amenity center.

“The Bluffs provides a direct connection to Coachman Park and the Imagine Clearwater project, bridging the gap between hotel, restaurant and retail spaces with specific public realm enhancements such as improved landscape connections, a pedestrian bridge and immersive artistic experiences,” the team wrote. in his cover letter. “The City Hall site offers a residential rental product that encourages people to engage in these private and public improvements. By providing public spaces, The Bluffs can support events to supplement the Capitol Theater schedule and Ruth Eckerd Hall’s amphitheater programming.

The proposal said the team was working with design firm Stantec, which is the same firm working with the city on the Coachman Park renovation as part of Imagine Clearwater.

Raising Clearwater’s Proposal

The group is proposing to build 388 apartments and townhouses in a 24-story building for the city hall site, which would be developed by Stoltenberg and Atlanta-based ECI Group. It would also have 22,000 square feet of retail space and 18,000 square feet that would be used for restaurant space and a culinary incubator.

A rendering of the mixed project for the site of the old town hall. Image: Elevate Clearwater/City of Clearwater

The nearby Harborview site would be transformed into what he calls the “Solaris Music Hotel Development” in his proposal. The 200-room hotel, reportedly operated by Experiential Ventures Hospitality and built by Solaris Development, is being highlighted as the destination for Clearwater Jazz Holiday’s celebratory event space.

A rendering of the 200 room hotel. Image: Elevate Clearwater/City of Clearwater

It also states that a speakeasy, a pool terrace and a venue that can be used for weddings would also be included in the hotel. Additionally, parking would be underground and the ground floor would have 14,000 square feet of restaurant concepts.

Another rendering of the proposed hotel. Image: Elevate Clearwater/City of Clearwater

Back to the property announcement

The parcels on the bluff are the Harborview Site and the Old Town Hall Site, both of which are in an Opportunity Zone. However, the city has focused on transforming the Harborview site, which housed the city’s Harborview Center before it was demolished in 2019.

“The city is open to a developer or development team who may be interested in developing one or both sites, knowing that the Harborview site is a particular priority for the city. The Harborview site is the city’s priority for redevelopment of both sites, given its strategic location and proximity to the park entrance,” reads the city’s advertisement to developers.

The vacant Harborview site is located near the intersection of Osceola and Cleveland streets, adjacent to Clearwater’s main public library, and is considered the “gateway” to the future waterfront park.

The city has identified ground floor retail as a requirement for the 1.43 acre Harborview site. The Harborview site currently contains approximately 112 parking spaces used by library patrons. Any future use should at least partially replace these parking spaces, possibly with the support of city parking funds.

Meanwhile, the 2.6-acre City Hall site at 112 S. Osceola Ave., at the intersection of Pierce Street and Osceola, is available as the city transferred City Hall functions in a nearby building.

“This site also has direct access to the future waterfront park and is an important link between the waterfront and the rest of the downtown core,” the ad reads.

The City Hall site is available in fee simple or land lease.

The city said it would consider a mix of rentals and condos at sites with a minimum goal of 150 rental units at one or both sites. The permitted FAR (floor area ratio) is 4.0 and the permitted density is 75 units per acre or 95 hotel units per acre.

Next steps

The three teams will present their proposals at a special council business meeting Monday in Clearwater City Council Chambers.

The city is required by city charter to hold a public referendum to sell or lease the Harborview and City Hall sites for non-municipal facility purposes. The referendum process will take place after the evaluation and selection process of the potential development partner.

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