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Upscale housing project beckons

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Triangle Development proposes two projects on nearly 4 acres just north of downtown Clearwater.By AARON SHAROCKMAN Published October 18, 2004CLEARWATER – Nearly 200 multifamily residences are planned north of the new Main Library near a part of the Church of Scientology’s sprawling downtown campus.Crews last week began clearing ground for a 14-story condominium high-rise that, if built, would alter the city skyline.Called Island View, the tower would include 50 two- and three-bedroom luxury residences. Triangle Development also hopes to build a 141-condominium and retail complex on the Salvation Army site along Fort Harrison Avenue.That project, called Harrison Village, would include a bookstore and an ice cream and coffee shop, said Jessica Hollingsworth, Triangle’s executive vice president.Together, the developments would change nearly 4 acres just north of downtown.“The area needs renovation,” Hollingsworth said.Both projects still need city approval, but Hollingsworth said crews expect to break ground on Island View, the condo high-rise, early next year and open in 2006.Work on Harrison Village would begin later, after the Salvation Army relocates to its new home on Druid Road.Units at Harrison Village start at around $300,000 each. Island View units start at $500,000. The two $1.5-million penthouses there are already reserved, said Triangle chief executive Ben Kugler.“It’s very top drawer,” said Kugler, who previously ran a business that sold entertainment products.Kugler said half of Island View’s units have been presold, almost entirely by word of mouth. The high-rise is located near Scientology’s Sandcastle retreat, one of the church’s most important landmarks.“People want to be there,” said Kugler, who said nonchurch members have also reserved units. “It’s a no-brainer.”Along with the residences at Harrison Village, the project includes 19,000 square feet of retail space and an automatic parking system popular in Europe.The robotic parking system reduces unwanted car fumes in the development and saves space, Hollingsworth said. A condo owner or shopper parks a car on one of the parking lifts and swipes a card. The lift then parks the cars itself.A second swipe retrieves the car in less than two minutes.The system is new to Clearwater.“It’s like a valet service,” Hollingsworth said.Ed Armstrong, the Clearwater attorney representing Triangle, said the project doesn’t affect any area residences and that much of the high-rise’s height will be masked by the bluff.“This is a very large and exciting project that will bring multiuse retail to Fort Harrison, which is much needed,” Armstrong said. “It’s an area of town that would be appropriate for an uplifting.”
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