In the end, it appears, hotel will make way for ... a hotel
By Times Staff Writers
Published November 11, 2007
CLEARWATER - Here's more proof of the sharp drop in demand for condominiums on Clearwater Beach:
The developer that paid a whopping $31.5-million for the old Adam's Mark Hotel is scrapping plans to build a condo tower on the sand and selling the property. And to make the 2.5 acres next to the Gulf of Mexico more attractive, Taylor Woodrow has submitted new plans to the city to allow a new owner to build a hotel.
"There is no market as a condominium," said Robert Glantz, senior vice president of the U.S. Tower Division of Taylor Woodrow, which is based in England.
The asking price has not been disclosed.
"Our choices were to hold or to sell," Glantz said. "If we want to sell, we have to (change) it to something that is marketable."
A potential hotel with 230 rooms - compared to the 217 at the old Adam's Mark - is good news for city officials and business leaders who lament the loss of overnight lodging for tourists who feed the beach economy.
"If another condo is not built on Clearwater Beach, that would be fine," Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard said.
Jose Cardenas, Times staff writer
Quiet down, city ready to tell Sponge Docks
Those at the Sponge Docks who tout the virtues of their boat trips, souvenirs and family cuisine via loudspeaker will have to bring down the volume before the end of the month.
Tarpon Springs city commissioners gave preliminary approval last week to an ordinance banning such amplified marketing techniques from the city's major tourist strip.
Mayor Beverley Billiris, whose family owns a business on the Sponge Docks, recused herself from the vote due to a conflict of interest.
"I think we need to terminate this," said Commissioner Peter Dalacos, who, along with some merchants, worries that the constant yammering over loudspeakers makes Tarpon Springs look and sound like a carnival or flea market.
But others say that's how it has always been.
"Why fix it if it's not broke?" said Naomi Kitsos of Sponge-O-Rama.
As proposed, business people cited for violating the ordinance could be fined, with the penalties getting larger for repeat offenses. But city officials are still working out the details and expect to have more on when the ordinance comes back for a final vote Nov. 20.
Elena Lesley, Times staff writer
What's wrong? Another commissioner leaving
Vice Mayor Kathleen Earle stunned colleagues last week with her announcement that she will leave her City Commission seat by Jan. 21.
"Situations in my life have changed to the point that, due to family obligations, I will need to resign my position on the commission," she said.
In response, commissioners passed a resolution adding her seat to three others already up for election on Jan. 29. Now four of five commission seats will be up for grabs.
Elected in March 2006, Earle, a 43-year-old language arts teacher at Dunedin Highland Middle School, is the fourth commissioner to leave the job in the last two years. During that time, two city managers departed as well.
Eileen Schulte, Times staff writer
Olds Square developer lowers subsidy request
The developer of the ambitious but long-delayed Olds Square project offered the city a new deal last week.
Dr. Doug Weiland cut his request for city financial support by one-third, but he still wants an $8-million subsidy, plus city permission to build an eight-story downtown hotel and residential tower.
"With an $8-million contribution and eight stories, we reach critical mass to make this a successful, viable project," Weiland told City Council members.
Weiland, the developer and chief executive officer of JES Properties, proposes to build Olds Square as a 500,000-square-foot, $100-million mixed-use development with a hotel, residential units, and retail and office space. It would go up on State Street next to City Hall and is touted as the signature piece that would transform Oldsmar's downtown.
Reaction was mixed, but city officials have hired a consulting firm from Vero Beach to do a financial analysis of the project. Those results, expected by Christmas, will guide the council's next move.
Terri Bryce Reeves, Times correspondent
Old buildings make way for new City Hall, center
Planning for construction of a new City Hall and community center moved ahead last week as the City Council agreed to tear down an adjacent public works building.
The current public works building is in the footprint of the proposed City Hall.
The present 1950s-era City Hall is expected to be torn down by spring. Construction of the new City Hall is expected to take about a year.
Sheila Mullane Estrada, Times correspondent
[Last modified November 10, 2007, 20:46:18]
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