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Plans call for new building to tower over downtown

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The project, on the 4 acre downtown “SuperBlock” site, would have condos, offices, retail stores, restaurants and a multiplex theater.
A rendering of Clearwater Development LLC’s proposed “Acqua” downtown redevelopment project that would stand at 377 feet on the north side of Cleveland Street in the AmSouth bank property was displayed for the City Council.

A rendering of Clearwater Development LLC’s proposed “Acqua” downtown redevelopment project that would stand at 377 feet on the north side of Cleveland Street in the AmSouth bank property was displayed for the City Council.

By LESTER R. DAILEY Article published on Wednesday, July 20, 2005CLEARWATER – If somebody had to choose a single adjective to describe Clearwater Development LLC’s proposed “Acqua” downtown redevelopment project, it wouldn’t be “small.” At 377 feet, the mixed-use structure would be more than twice the height of any other building in Clearwater.“We think it’s going to be a shining star in downtown Clearwater,” Mark Rieker of Rieker and Associates, the Orlando-based development manager, told the City Council Monday. “This should be the best residential address in Clearwater.”Vice Mayor Bill Jonson questioned whether residents would accept a building of that height, but his colleagues weren’t worried.“I’d rather see taller and skinnier than short and squat,” Councilwoman Carlen Petersen said.The project is proposed for the 4 acre AmSouth bank property on the north side of Cleveland Street, between Osceola and Fort Harrison avenues. The new 32-story structure will have 245 condo units, 35,000 square feet of “destination retail” space, a 55,000-square-foot first-run movie theater with 8 to 12 screens, and parking for 1,100 cars.The existing 87,800-square-foot bank and office building would be refurbished in the same style as the new building.“It truly is a blend of Art Modern and Chicago style,” said Timothy Baker, the Orlando architect who designed the stair-stepped, glass-wrapped edifice.And that’s exactly what Jonson had against it.“I’m not sure it looks like Clearwater or Florida,” Jonson said, adding that he especially dislikes the two “handles” projecting from the roofline. “I didn’t know that we were trying to make it more contemporary. It’s so different than what I’m used to seeing downtown, and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.”But Assistant City Manager Garry Brumback, replied that the city wants architectural diversity, not just Mediterranean style, downtown. And Baker added that he was trying to create a “downtown icon,” like the opera house in Sydney, Australia, that would be instantly recognizable worldwide.Baker explained that the architecture picks up the modernistic architecture of the new main library, across the street, and adds a nautical flair.“Even the name, ‘Acqua,’ has a nautical sound,” he said.“I’m not anywhere near ready to say it’s great, but I like it,” Councilman Hoyt Hamilton said. “From what we’re seeing here today, there are a lot more likes than dislikes.”Project spokesman Kevin Burke said he expects the AmStar Entertainment multiplex theater to attract more moviegoers than the Acqua shops and restaurants can handle.“The increased benefits will spill over to the vacant spaces up and down Cleveland and along Fort Harrison,” Burke said.Parking was a major concern for the council members. An Osceola Street entrance to the six stories of covered parking leads to the 540 spaces built at the developers’ expense for the exclusive use of condo owners.The Fort Harrison Avenue entrance will lead to the 560 spaces built at a cost to the city of $25,000 apiece for public use. During business hours, 200 of them will be reserved for employees of offices in the AmSouth building.But in the evening and on weekends, those spaces will be available to the general public.Source: http://www.tbnweekly.com/content_articles/072005_cit-01.txt
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