Council hears plan for beach hotel on Coronado Drive

— Another proposed hotel development has come before the city council.

During Monday’s work session, city planner Mark Parry told the council that Mainstream Partners VIII, Ltd. is seeking approval to build a six-story, 144-room hotel at 353 Coronado Drive, an area designated as the Small Motel District.

The district is situated east of Beach Walk and west of the Intracoastal Waterway. It lies between Coronado and Hamden drives and is a mix of small motels, restaurants, shops and a few empty lots.

Brightwater Drive, which is off Hamden and stretches east to the intracoastal, also is within the motel district. Mostly mid-rise town houses and time-shares line the street. The area also includes two residential streets -- Devin Drive and Bayside Drive.

The developer is seeking 96 units from the city’s density pool. The hotel room density equates to 150 rooms per acre — maxing out what is allowable under Beach by Design guidelines.

The density reserve, an effort to attract more mid-price hotels to the beach, allows developers to build more rooms than otherwise would be allowed. For such a hotel to be a financial success in an area with expensive real estate, developers need as many rooms as they can get.

Parry concluded that the preliminary review of the overall project complies with Beach by Design. However, a formal review will be evaluated during the site plan and development agreement approval process, he said.

Beach by Design, the Clearwater Beach master plan, was adopted in 2001 and amended seven times, the last in 2010. It outlines provisions concerning building plots; setbacks; mass, height and elevation; exterior façade; view corridors; and room density.

The proposed hotel would stand just less than 100 feet tall on the .962 acre lot that’s currently vacant. The proposal also calls for 173 parking spaces, which satisfies the guideline of 1.2 per room.

The first of two public hearings on the proposed hotel was held Wednesday night, after the Gazette’s publishing deadline. The regular bimonthly meeting was rescheduled from Thursday because of high school graduations.

Mayor George Cretekos questioned why staff submitted the agreement with a revision to the city guideline on outdoor amplified music.

“The direction was very clear at our last meeting. … This is not acceptable,” he said.

The guideline limits such music after 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and after midnight Friday and Saturday. The application was altered to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

“The applicant needs to hear that (from the council) on Wednesday night,” Parry said.

“They certainly will, now and Wednesday,” the mayor replied.

Currently, the empty lot is being reconditioned to create a temporary parking lot, according to Parry.

“They want to do something with the property, and the easiest thing they felt they could do is to provide additional surface parking. Realistically, they probably won’t be putting a shovel in the ground until next year.”

A second and final public hearing on the proposal was set for 6 p.m. June 19 in the council chambers at city hall, 112 S. Osceola Ave.

The council also learned that Decade Gulf Coast Hotel Partners, LP and J.K. Gulfview LLC, owners of the Holiday Inn at 521 S. Gulfview Blvd., are seeking 30 units from the hotel density reserve under Beach by Design.

Last year, the owners won approval from the Community Development Board to build a new hotel tower on the property. At that time there was no request for hotel density reserve rooms.

They since have revised their plans and are asking for 30 units to divide 15 suites into 30 rooms.

The first public hearing on the Holiday Inn request was Wednesday and will be followed by a second hearing at 6 p.m. June 19.

Pending hotel developments

Developers have been in a rush in recent years to bring their projects before the council. The city has approved as many as eight development agreements. That rush can be attributed to concerns that if Beach by Design is altered, it will inhibit their ability to stay competitive with much of the proposed hotel development happening on the barrier island.

Not much construction has begun. Councilman Bill Jonson echoed a statement Monday that was a commonly heard last year, “Well, we don’t know if this project will ever get built.”

A 100-room expansion at Shephard’s Beach Resort at 619 S. Gulfview Blvd. was completed in April. Construction of a 230-room hotel by Ocean Properties at 311 S. Gulfview Blvd. is under way and slated for completion next spring.

Most hotel proposals are still going through the normal process and procedures associated with the standard 10-year development agreement cycle while others are attempting to secure solid financing.

Projects approved by the city council include:

• Two 15-story towers, one with 208 hotel rooms, the other with 74 condo units on an empty parcel at 752 S. Gulfview Blvd.

• A 171-room Hampton Inn & Suites next to the Quality Inn Hotel at 655 S. Gulfview Blvd.

• An 85-room boutique hotel to replace the Sea Captain Motel at 40 Devon Drive.

• A 102-room hotel on an empty parcel at 669 Bay Esplanade.

• A 202-room hotel that will replace the Wyndham Garden at 691 S. Gulfview Blvd.

• A 103-room hotel to replace the Gulf View Hotel at 625 S. Gulfview Blvd.

• A 134-room resort with 50 boat slips and a 6,500-square-foot restaurant on an empty parcel on East Shore Drive.

• A 300-room Renaissance Resort and a 150-room Residence Inn on a parking lot at Gulfview Boulevard and Coronado Drive.

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