CLEARWATER – Three years ago, the Clearwater City Council granted a “historic” designation to the city-owned Capitol Theatre at 405 Cleveland Street and granted a similar designation to the adjacent Clearwater Evening Sun Building, which is also city-owned.
The designations were granted at the request of Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc., which manages the two buildings for the city, and they limited the type of modifications that could be made to the structures, especially to their facades.
But REH has a new manager and recently reversed itself by requesting that the “historic” designations be revoked so it can modify the two buildings. On Sept. 20, over the objections of the city’s own planning and development department, the city council unanimously approved that request.
Current plans call for the Capitol Theatre, which was built in 1921, to have its Mediterranean Revival façade restored to its former grandeur. But plans for the 1921 Sun Building, which is used for ancillary purposes connected with the theater, are less certain.
When requesting the reversal of the “historic” designation for that 5,600-square-foot building, REH officials indicated that it would probably be united with the theater behind a single, Mediterranean revival façade. They did not rule out the possibility that the “commercial masonry vernacular-style” building, which is also called the Pat Lokey Building because of the woman by that name who ran a dress shop in it for years, could be razed.