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DOWNTOWN CLEARWATER FLORIDA – UPDATE DECEMBER 2008
CREATING A DESTINATION FOR SHOPPING, CAFES AND RESTAURANTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
-By David Kerr
Downtown Clearwater is emerging as a new destination of interest in Tampa Bay and Florida. The city of Clearwater has spent about $10,000,000 “Streetscaping” the main four blocks of Cleveland Street that lead up to the inter-coastal waterway and given it the new identity of “Cleveland Street District”.
NEW CONDO BUILDINGS AND A NEW HOTEL
Waters Edge Condominium is a 25 story beacon on Clearwater’s horizon. With 158 condominium units and 10,000 sq ft of retail this is a first class residential community in the style that developer Opus South has become to be known for. The first dozen residences were occupied just recently. Station Square is another 11 story condo building downtown that has just been completed and occupancy is about to start. With 138 condominium residences and 10,000 sq ft of retail it is also a first class addition to downtown. Marriott Residence Inn has just completed and opened the first new hotel in downtown Clearwater in many years. With 118 rooms its addition is a sign of things to come.
A marina at the foot of Cleveland Street District on the Gulf of Mexico inter-coastal waterway is opening with 130 boat slips and over 800 feet of tie up dock space, which is to add a whole new element to downtown. Over 500 have put in reservations for boat slips and a lottery will decide the winners. The tie up space and temporary docking will bring more new public to downtown. Funding is approved and construction starts by the end of the year.
NEW PERFORMING ARTS CENTER PROPOSED
The historic 655 seat Royalty Theatre, built 1921, is has been approved for purchased by the city of Clearwater and Ruth Eckherd Hall (which has operated a successful 3,000 seat performing arts center elsewhere in Clearwater for many years). Royalty and the building adjacent are to be restored to bring “film, live performances, jazz, classical artists, pop entertainment”. This will bring a fine quality of new patrons to the Cleveland Street District.
NEW RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS
The ever popular Starbucks at the corner of Cleveland and Fort Harrison is one of the most successful in the chain. It is now to be rivaled by an upscale new Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins one block away now in the newly restored 1915 Telephone Building. Next to this is Tony’s Pizza and the elaborate new 5,000 sq ft Rio Grande Restaurant just opened. Jamba Juice opened on the corner across from Starbucks this year and is doing well – followed by the new busy Cali Yogurt diagonally across the road. Chang Mai restaurant has been doing well downtown for years and now a new sushi restaurant going in the street front space at Station Square – 5,000 sq ft plus 4,000 sq ft covered patio – will bring more eaters downtown. At the east entrance to Cleveland Street District the new Supreme Café at the corner of Cleveland and Myrtle ( Alternate 19) will give shoppers a taste of what is to come as the enter the district.
RETAIL RECUITMENT AND THE OFFICIAL DOWNTOWN RETAIL PLAN
The city of Clearwater hired Economic Research Associates (ERA) from DC this year to create a downtown retail plan for the Cleveland Street District using their decades of successful experience at this. The official plan adopted by the city commissioners is available for viewing and includes recommendation for a full time retail recruiter (which has now been hired) to co-ordinate with owners and brokers to bring good retailers downtown to create the right mix. The Clearwater Downtown Partnership (consisting of developers and downtown property owners) together with the Downtown Development Board and the Community Redevelopment Agency is co-ordinating with ERA to make the Cleveland Street District a success.
In 2006 the new high span Memorial Bridge made Clearwater Beach more accessible to the internationally known white sands of Clearwater Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, just one mile away from downtown Clearwater. Many quality new condo buildings that have been constructed over the past few years have brought the grade of Clearwater Beach to much higher level. Now the city of Clearwater has spent $30M on Beach Walk which includes a well landscaped integrated trail along the beach which is a big hit with visitors and residents. Add to this the first two new hotels for many years – both five star. The Sandpearl is a 253 suite resort hotel on the beach and the Hyatt Aqualea is a 250 suite hotel facing the new Beach walk . These truly help bring Clearwater Beach to a world class level.
PENT UP DEMAND
There are a number of high end residential areas in close proximity to the Cleveland Street District. These include Harbor Oaks, Belleair, Island Estates, Clearwater Beach, Carlouel and Sand Key. Currently the residents of these areas often go to Countryside or Tampa to shop or eat. Clearwater is the county seat for Pinellas County with the main court house and numerous government buildings. As well there are three major office buildings downtown amongst smaller ones. These are more potential shoppers and restaurant users. The new condos will bring more users downtown. The Steinmart Fashion Department Store in downtown Clearwater has been one of their more successful stores for years catering to an above average income clientele. There is an international religious retreat for the Church of Scientology downtown with hundreds of hotel rooms – this brings thousands of visitors with shopping dollars downtown through the year, and is growing. There is every indication that if the downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District has the right restaurant and tenant mix the customers will come. Add to that the Clearwater Beach tourist and conventioneers that need a variety of things to do – Cleveland Street District has all the ingredients for success.
David Kerr, Broker/Owner, High Point Real Estate Corp, 413 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, FL 33755
Office 727-466-6697 Cell 727-804-2116
High Point Real Estate Corp
413 Cleveland St.
Clearwater, Fl 33755
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