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Plans for condo tower get city approval

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But the developer says market interest will determine if it follows through with the 25-story tower. By AARON SHAROCKMAN Published August 17, 2005 CLEARWATER – A 25-story condominium tower for downtown, the first step in a potential $250-million remake of a waterfront block that includes City Hall, was approved without discussion Tuesday by the city’s Community Development Board. Called Water’s Edge, the tower is now Clearwater’s tallest approved building and the successor to Calvary Baptist Church at the corner of Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street. Construction on the 157-unit building could begin by the end of the year, said the project’s developer, Opus South. The Tampa company must first close on the $15-million sale of the church properties, now scheduled for October. Jerry Shaw, Opus’ senior vice president, said market interest will determine if Opus proceeds with the deal. Developers typically need half of the units to be spoken for before construction begins, Shaw said. He would not reveal Opus’ make or break mark. “It’s looking good,” Shaw said in describing sales prospects. “We’ve got a very good first response to the project.” Opus already opened a sales center across Osceola Avenue from the Calvary church property. Tuesday afternoon, two groups of people were poring over unit floor plans as the development board was giving the project unanimous approval during a meeting in City Hall. Shaw said the company hopes to start signing contracts with unit owners in September, with units fetching between $500,000 and $1-million. Meanwhile, developers will start working on the second, larger phase of the residential, retail and office project. For that phase, developers envision a ring of restaurants and storefronts around what is now the City Hall property, with offices and lofts above. A new City Hall could also be part of the project, as well as $750,000 worth of public art. Opus would need to purchase part of the city property in order to complete the project, and that transaction requires voter approval in a referendum. A vote is now scheduled for March 2006. “We believe in downtown Clearwater,” said Bill West, an Opus real estate manager. The first phase tower would be surrounded by 10,000 square feet of retail space. A parking garage for condo owners would be hidden in the building, as would a pool deck. Calvary members agreed to sell their downtown properties to Opus last year as they build a new church campus off McMullen-Booth Road. City officials, meanwhile, are exploring ways to save the original Calvary chapel as a possible performing arts center. Opus has agreed to donate the building and says it could cost $1.5-million to relocate the 1926 chapel. The city is searching for a place to move the building, as well as money for the restoration. MORE CONDOMINIUMS Two more major south Clearwater Beach projects were approved unanimously Tuesday by the city’s Community Development Board. Neither project needs City Council approval so Tuesday’s decisions clear the way for construction to begin. TAYLOR WOODROW/BEACH RESIDENCES 430 South Gulfview Blvd. British developer Taylor Woodrow paid $31.5-million for the Adam’s Mark Hotel site, 2.45 acres of gulffront. Planned are: 112 condominiums and 78 hotel rooms 2 buildings, 100 and 150 feet tall West Indies-style architecture DIVELLO LAND TRUST 445 Hamden Drive and 504 S Gulfview Blvd. Former Sea Wake Resorts properties, the northern building will be refurbished, the southern building will be demolished and rebuilt. Planned are: 83 condominiums 31 units in five-story northern building 52 units in new 100-foot-tall tower Source:
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