City Pursues Condo Parking Garage Idea
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER – Despite uncertainties surrounding the relationship that would develop with the land owner, the City Council has given its approval to further negotiate with Surf Style Retail Management, the owner of a retail shop and Britts restaurant, for the construction and condo-style ownership of what would become a 494-space public parking garage on Clearwater Beach.
The Surf Style property emerged as the preferred garage location during Council discussions one month ago, but the price tag was higher than the city was willing to pay.
But after a month of negotiations, Surf Style reduced the price it was asking for 294 parking spaces from $15.5-million to $12.3-million.
That $3.2-million savings was enough to reignite the Council's interest, but it came with a few conditions:
Councilmember Paul Gibson's motion to direct city staff to continue negotiations with Surf Style was approved by a vote of 4-1, with Carlen Petersen voting no only because she objected to the future purchase of the additional 200 spaces.
One of the negotiating points involves the $2.9-million mortgage on the property held by Regions Bank. The City, prepared to finance garage construction costs, would not want its investment to become secondary to the first mortgage should the project unravel.
While negotiations will continue, don't expect a parking garage to sprout at 309-311 South Gulfview Blvd any time soon. Staff estimates have the facility opening no sooner than two to three years from now.
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