City leaders decided the prospect of a potential project on a prime piece of beach property and the financial guarantee tied to it is reason to give more time to Kiran Patel to start construction of two Marriott hotels at Coronado Drive and Gulfview Boulevard.
The City Council voted 4-1 on the latest development agreement, with council member Paul Gibson in opposition to the plan, that includes financial incentives of up to $3 million to the city and gives project planners until 2015 to start construction.
The developer is required to put $1 million in an interest bearing escrow account on Feb. 12 each year the project does not start. The money will be returned if the developer closes on a loan to start construction and the project starts on or before Feb. 12, 2015.
“In my mind it’s a $3 million option for him to extend for three years,” Gibson said. “At some point you just have to do what you say you’re going to do and stop extending it forever.”
Mayor Frank Hibbard likes the project and it’s plan to add 20,000 square feet of convention space to Clearwater Beach. Other members also liked the latest iteration of the plan that includes a 300-room Renaissance Resort and a 150-unit Residence Inn.
“This is a camel with a much better saddle” Hibbard said.
At one time, Kiran Patel planned to develop the 2.75-acre site into a luxury resort. The economy tanked, and so did those plans which called for a 200-unit timeshare resort and a 250-room Westin Hotel.
“It does not behoove us to have a $53 million parking lot on Clearwater Beach,” Hibbard said.
Dave Hemerick, who lives on Devon Drive, does not like the idea of the resort coming. He is worried about the traffic it will bring. He said there is not enough information about the new project’s plan and he does not care about the money tied to it.
“I don’t think that makes any difference,” Hemerick said.
The property at the corner of Gulfview Boulevard and Coronado Drive used to be the site of the Spyglass Motel, Days Inn, the Beach Towers Motel and Golden Beach Motel.
The Spyglass Motel was destroyed in epic fashion in 2008 when television illusionist Criss Angel escaped from the imploding building. Since then the land was converted into what some consider the state's most expensive parking lot.
Oct. 19, 2004. An application for a 350-room hotel and 75 attached dwellings is approved by the Community Development Board.
Feb. 17, 2005. The city council approves addition to development agreement that allows developer to use 250 rooms from the Beach by Design Destination Resort density pool.
May 17, 2005. The Community Development Board approves a change to a portion of the design of an elevated pedestrian walkway over South Gulfview Boulevard.
March 16, 2006. The city council approves a change to relocating First Street.
Oct. 21, 2008. The Community Development Board approves a change to allow 250 overnight rooms and 200 timeshare units.
Dec. 18 2008. The city council approves an additional development agreement that extends the life of the plans to April 2019 and says construction must start by Feb. 11, 2012.
Dec. 20, 2011. Developers ask the Community Development Board to approve a plan to develop the resort without timeshare units and to change the effective date to February 2012.
Jan. 12, 2012. City Council approves new development agreement to build two Marriott hotels
February 2015. The potential deadline to begin construction.