CLEARWATER – Last October, the Miami-based developer Mainstream Partners VIII Limited proposed building a 180-unit hotel on Clearwater Beach, using 100 units from the “density pool” created by the city’s Beach by Design master plan to reward developers who meet certain criteria. But the proposal faced opposition from a City Council concerned about such things as noise, setbacks and parking. The partners temporarily withdrew their application until they could tweak their plan enough to make it more palatable to the councilmembers. At the May 15 council meeting, Mainstream partner Antonio Fernandez presented the partnership’s revised request for 100 rooms from the pool.
“The applicant essentially went back to the drawing board,” Mark Perry of the city’s planning and development department told the council. “The (new) request is generally consistent with Beach by Design.”
Ed Hooper, a former Clearwater council member now representing Mainstream, said that the partnership’s new proposal had been created using a “new team and new design” rather than the ones used in the previous plan.
The subject 1.601-acre property is located at 325 South Gulfview Blvd. and 325 Coronado Drive. Structures currently cover 15,993 square feet, or 22.95 percent, of the site. The new proposal would increase that to 51,400 square feet, or 73.71 percent of the site. Those figures are well within the 66,250 square feet, or 95 percent of the site, permitted.
The existing 55-space parking garage stands 55 feet tall. Its proposed replacement would stand 140 feet tall and have 216 parking spaces. The minimum parking facility required for a hotel the size of the one proposed is 216 spaces, and the maximum allowable height is 150 feet. Being that the parking garage will meet the city’s minimum requirements, no dispensation like the one required for the hotel will be required for it.
A major concern of the councilmembers at last October’s discussion of the project was that Mainstream had asked to be allowed to play “amplified music” at its hotel. That request was later narrowed down to only allow such music until midnight from Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Hooper said that wouldn’t be a problem because Mainstream also owns the only two buildings near enough that music from the hotel might annoy their occupants. Also, just because the hotel would be allowed to have amplified music during those hours doesn’t mean that they would actually have it.
“The only people we’re impacting with noise are our guests and whatever is swimming in Tampa Bay,” Hooper said.
“As I look at that particular drawing, it looks very nice to me,” Councilmember Bill Jonson said as he studied an artist’s rendering of the proposed hotel that Hooper was showing to the councilmembers for the first time.
“Things are happening,” Hooper said. “I think this is an important time for Clearwater Beach.”
When asked, City Attorney Pam Akin said that changes could be made to the plan between that meeting and the next one without having to go back and start over. And that was what Mayor George Cretekos needed to hear.
“We’re good to go until Wednesday, June 4,” Cretekos said. He explained that City Council meetings are usually held on Thursdays, but the next one had been moved up by a day so it wouldn’t interfere with Clearwater High School’s graduation night.