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Plan to develop last vacant lot on South Gulfview Blvd. re-emerges

Published:   |   Updated: February 6, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Plan calls for two towers, a parking garage and a restaurant on the former site of the Holiday Inn Sunspree.
CLEARWATER — Last fall, representatives for Marquesas LLC went before the city council to object to a neighboring developer's plan to build a new hotel. Tonight, they'll seek approval for their own new hotel, plus a resort condominium and a restaurant.
The vacant 5.13 acres on the southwest corner of South Gulfview and Gulf boulevards at the foot of the Sand Key Bridge once was the site of the Holiday Inn Sunspree. It was demolished in 2006 in hopes of building two lavish residential towers, offering some of the largest condominium homes on Clearwater Beach.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2007, but the structures were never built because of the economic recession.
Seven years later, Marquesas, a partnership between JMC Communities and Ocean Properties, Ltd., is presenting a more modest plan for a mid-price, 208-room, 15-story hotel with an attached seven-story parking garage. The developer is seeking for 93 of those rooms from the Hotel Density Reserve under Beach by Design, the city's plan for future development on the barrier island, including building plots; setbacks; mass, height and elevation; exterior facades; view corridors; and room density.
In addition, Marquesas wants to build a 74-unit, 15-story condominium featuring 14 floors of residential units over a first-floor parking area, plus a single-story, stand-alone restaurant situated between the two towers.
In October, Marquesas representatives complained to the council about the hotel proposed by neighbor Uday Lele, the owner of the Wyndham Hotel who was approved to build a 14-story tower called The Views. They claimed Lele's “ugly” design would hinder their ability to build more than one tower on their site and largely blocked the view of the Gulf of Mexico.
City planners modeled the Marquesas project and determined that developers could still build at least two towers on its site.
Based on a preliminary review by planning staff, the Marquesas project appears to meet city codes.
A change in the development review process last fall requires that all projects seeking hotel density reserve units receive approval by the city council before proceeding to the Community Development Board. The council must hold two public hearings before casting its vote. The second hearing is set for Feb. 20.
Ocean Properties recently began construction on a 230-unit hotel on the former Adam's Mark site at 430 Gulfview Blvd. It also owns a managing partnership interest in Sandpearl Resort.
The city council meets tonight at 6 in its chambers in city hall, 112 S. Osceola Ave.


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