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    New Edgewater hotel may replace old one

    Clearwater commissioners are expected to approve the project to replace the Edgewater Drive Inn.


    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001

    CLEARWATER -- Another 1950s vintage motel on Edgewater Drive is likely to be razed and redeveloped into a modern, three-story hotel.

    Taken with the view of Clearwater Harbor he enjoyed during a drive between Clearwater and Dunedin, David Hornstein, a Canadian businessman who owns hotels in Canada, has bought the old Edgewater Drive Inn for $1-million. He plans to redevelop the site, in addition to a nearby duplex and another apartment building, into a $5-million, 60-room hotel.

    The city's planning board has approved the project proposed at 1919 Edgewater Drive, and tonight the City Commission is expected to approve a rezoning of the property to allow a hotel to be rebuilt on the 1.5-acre site.

    Commissioner Whitney Gray, who lives nearby, said some of her neighbors, including her father-in-law, have expressed concerns that such redevelopment be stopped from encroaching into their neighborhood.

    But Gray says she feels reassured by city staff members that they will not encourage any future hotel development in residential areas farther north on Edgewater Drive or east on Sunset Point Road.

    "I take them at their word," Gray said. "I personally, as a commissioner, wouldn't support the extension of that any further."

    Gray said she'll likely support this rezoning -- unless lots of nearby residents turn out to oppose it.

    To deal with neighborhood concerns, city planners requested that the new hotel have a landscaping buffer between nearby homes and also that the bright colors that were originally proposed for the exterior be toned down to more muted earth tones.

    In addition, they asked the new hotel to install sidewalks along Edgewater Drive and Sunset Point Road, where they are lacking.

    Hornstein has talked with several hotel chains about the site, but a brand for the project hasn't been negotiated yet, said Robert Pergolizzi of Florida Design Consultants, the Clearwater engineering firm at work on the project.

    Pergolizzi said the shoreline view along Edgewater was the key allure of the proposed hotel site. He noted the new Edgewater Inn will be the second such project in the neighborhood approved recently.

    Last fall, the city approved a 40-room Comfort Suites to be built at 1941 Edgewater Drive, to the north.

    "It's just a good location to get a nice new motel in the area that is up to date," Pergolizzi said. "The old 1950s architecture there now, it just doesn't have the amenities that people are looking for."

    Hornstein was traveling Wednesday and couldn't be reached to comment.

    Also on the agenda at tonight's commission meeting are a series of votes on additional approvals needed for the Clearwater Seashell Resort, a 250-room hotel proposed on S Gulfview Boulevard on Clearwater Beach. The project is stalled with litigation from a neighboring property owner.

    After hearing a presentation on beach traffic, the commission will vote tonight whether to vacate part of Third Street and Gulfview for the Seashell Resort. Commissioners also will vote whether to amend the city's master plan so more hotel rooms can be built on the beach than now permitted.

    The commission has approved an overall development agreement to allow the resort, which is proposed to be operated by Marriott International.

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