The historic Old Clearwater Bay Neighborhood (OCBN) stretches along the bay front of Clearwater Harbor from Drew Street north to Sunset Point Road. Developers have discovered this prime real estate, which has been referred to as Clearwater’s “Gold Coast”. Six projects - five within the OCBN - are presently nearing completion, beginning pre-construction marketing or being presented to city boards, staff and council. The neighborhood, primarily composed of single-family homes, will soon be inundated with multi-level buildings.
Two projects are planned for the “old” Salvation Army site on Fort Harrison and Osceola Avenues. Mr. Ed Hooper, representative of Triangle Development, presented renderings of Harrison Village, a gated 5-story complex of 7 interconnected buildings consisting of retail and office space beneath luxury condos. Drawings of Island View Condominiums pictured a 14-story gated condominium and town-home project overlooking the harbor. Maximum height will be 150 ft. Mr. Thomas Coates, one of the principals involved in the planning, attended the meeting and stated there would be a total of 193 units beginning at 1,500 square feet and $315,000 per unit. Waterfront units will be more expensive. Plans included a robotic parking system available to residents and their guests with additional street parking for retail customers.
P.A.C. Land Development Corp. of Winter Park is the builder of Bay View Condominiums on the corner of Osceola and Eldridge Street. There are 28 units on 5 levels with 2 levels of parking and boat slips. According to Brian Plumley of marketing and development, the per-unit price ranges from $360,000 to $1-million.
Clearwater Bay Marina, LLC at 900 N. Osceola Avenue is adjacent to the public boat ramp on Seminole Street and the Francis Wilson Playhouse and is behind North Ward Elementary School. The project was scheduled for review at the Community Development Board’s December meeting but was postponed. Plans, for 133 high-rise units plus boat slips, have been contested by OCBN residents who considered them out of scale and character for the neighborhood.
Palm Bluff Preserve another gated community of town-homes is to be constructed at Osceola and Palm Bluff Street by Mark Thompson and John Breco of Pompano Beach. Jillian Heath president of the OCBN association met with Thompson and Breco to hear their proposals for height and set back variances. Mrs. Heath believes that association members will find the variances unsuitable for the site and that the city staff will not agree to the developers’ requests.
At the junction of Fort Harrison and Sunset Point Road is the Villa Del Mar. Robert Szasz of Del Mar Development LLC is the developer. The 24 condominiums rise 5 stories above the water and tower over the homes on Venetian Point Drive to the west. The setback from the seawall seems quite narrow for such a large structure and its 30 ft. wide terraces. Prices are from $549,000 to $740,000.
Ashleigh Terrace Condominiums will replace the Edgewater Drive and Bay Queen motels across the street from Villa Del Mar. Residents of the Edgewater neighborhood strongly opposed the construction, but the last judicial appeal was denied. Daniel Dennehy, property owner, said he plans to begin on-site marketing for pre-construction sales in January or February. There will be 4 stories over parking. Each of the 62 units will have a waterfront view from the balcony and a private elevator to the owner’s foyer. Mr. Dennehy will save the old oak trees and enhance the grounds with landscaping. Prices will range from $400,000 to $900,000 plus.
When the city was divided into character districts, part of OCBN was included with Downtown. City Manager Bill Horne and the city staff have supported changes in the district that have violated planning principles possibly establishing a precedent. The luxury high-rises will dramatically change the “look” of the neighborhood, which in some areas will be an improvement. But, residents are concerned for the future and wonder if the “Gold Coast” will continue to be a source of golden opportunities for developers.
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