Beach Parking Garage Agreement Delayed Till February
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - The City Council's decision to approve a development agreement with L.O.M. Inc., the owner of Britts and Surfstyle on south Clearwater Beach, has been delayed until February on the advice of City Attorney Pam Akin.
"You don't have the final version of all the documents, particularly the condo documents," she said during Monday's Council work session. Akin added that the documents should be finalized early next week, providing several weeks for the Councilmembers to review them before voting.
The proposed development would consist of three condominium units, one for a 301-space public parking garage, one for the Surfstyle retail store, and one for the Britts restaurant.
The development agreement contains a "Put Agreement" between the city and L.O.M.'s lender, Mercantil Commercebank, N.A., which requires the city to purchase the parking garage unit if the lender forecloses on it within five years.
The purchase price would be $9.3-million, with the city required to immediately establish a fully-funded reserve account, and preserve that account for the five year period of the "Put Agreement".
According to Margie Simmons, Clearwater's Director of Finance, $6-million of the reserve account would be transferred from a similar fund that was used to guarantee financing for the Hyatt Aqualea, with the remaining funds coming from unrestricted Parking Fund reserves.
Of the $6-million being transferred from the Hyatt guarantee fund, $2-million originally came from the Parking fund, a $2-million loan from Central Insurance reserves, and a $2-million loan from General Fund reserves.
Asked why the $9.3-million "Put Agreement" fund would not come entirely from Parking Fund reserves, freeing the $4-million in loans from the General Fund and Central Insurance fund, Simmons said, "We don't feel that the reserves in the Parking Fund are sufficient to pay back the loans at this point."
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