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Capitol Theatre Expansion Uproots Blue Dahlia Marketplace

The city is purchasing the sliver of property that houses the eclectic shop downtown as part of expansion and restoration plans for the Capitol Theatre.

Paula Cadman opened the two years ago with the hope of attracting other artsy types to downtown.

She chose a location close to the historic because she felt her wares cater to a similar crowd.

While Cadman is excited about expansion and restoration plans for the venue, she also has no idea what she is going to do as she is forced to uproot her business as the city closes a deal with to purchase the sliver of property where she offers eclectic, new and vintage decorative items and apparel and locally made creations.

"I'm scrambling," Cadman said. "Not sure where I am going right now."

The city made a deal with Ruth Eckerd Hall that if the non-profit group purchases the property, the city would then buy it from them. The stipulation is that the city would pay the median price of two appraisals.

Ruth Eckerd Hall is negotiating to pay $550,000 for the nearly 90-year-old retail space along Cleveland Street from Hickok Investments, which bought the shotgun-style space for $635,000 on Jan. 23, 2006, in the middle of the real estate boom.

Rod Irwin, assistant city manager, said two appraisals of the property came to an average of $190,000. Irwin said one appraisal was for $180,000 and the other valued the building at $200,000. The property has a just market value of $164,500, according to county records.

An antique seat displays a few handbags and other accessories are draped close by. A sleek lace dress covered the slender form of a mannequin. Those and other fashions are on sale for 50 percent off. 

Sure, Cadman has a summer sale each year since she opened Blue Dahlia Marketplace. However, this time she is really motivated to sell.

“I am trying to unload certain merchandise so I’m not moving so much,” Cadman said. “It’s a good reason for the sale.”

Plans call for using the space as eventual bathrooms for the expanded and remodeled Capitol Theatre. The city also owns the adjacent Lokey building. The Clearwater Chamber of Commerce is operating out of the building until plans are in place to also fuse it with the old movie house.

The city bought the Lokey Building, 401 Cleveland St, in Oct. 2004 for $700,000. The property has a just market value of $435,673.

Renovation plans include incorporating the adjacent Lokey building, which will eventually be converted into a grand lobby, concession areas, and restrooms for the theatre which would then be able to seat 655. The completion was planned for Oct. 2013. 

The Capitol Theatre theaters in the state of Florida. Sen. John Taylor had the movie house built during the city's first boom. Movies ran throughout the week and vaudeville performances were Friday night.

The city designated the structure a historical landmark in 2009, the first by the city.

Ultimately, Cadman sees the good in all the turmoil. She is a fan of the arts, loves the idea of expanding the theater and sees it as a great thing for downtown. She just is not sure where she will reopen, though she would like to stay close to the theater.

“I’m not upset but it is going to be costly for me to move.”

BKL June 23, 2012 at 01:23 PM
The city of Clearwater needs to bend over backwards to help this shop owner who put herself and her finances out on a limb to be a vibrant part of growing Clearwater. Cities needs to back these small business owners who have worked so hard, and have helped attract people and business and TAX dollars to the area.
Wendy Gilmore June 23, 2012 at 04:27 PM
The Cleveland Street District and Ruth Eckerd Hall have worked very hard to help revitalize downtown Clearwater. The Blast Friday Event that was hosted in May brought 3000 people to a one block radius right in front of The Capital Theatre. I watched this business owner be very argumentative and non supportive to the event coordinator during this event. She did not want the event set up in front of her shop (the event is in the street not on the sidewalk). I am not sure when else there would be a time when she has 3000 potential customers all at once, but it seems as if she would have been a little more supportive of such a successful event. If you work against the city, I see no reason why they should work to support you.

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