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Business Observer Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 4 months ago

Developer buying 15 parcels totaling 21 acres in Clearwater, plans massive transformation near downtown

City based developer plans to bring luxury condos, a hotel and other features to the Marina District.
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

A Clearwater real estate developer is looking to massively transform the city’s Marina District with the construction of multifamily housing, retail, office, hotel and luxury condos on 15 parcels it’s buying.

RSR Capital Advisors says it is purchasing the 15 parcels from multiple sellers and expects to close on the first property sometime this summer and the other parcels as the project takes shape.

The company did not say how much it was paying for the properties but expects the development will cost more than $350 million. The parcels themselves range from 0.3 acres to 3.5 acres.

The properties are located north of downtown Clearwater along North Osceola Avenue, North Fort Harrison Avenue and North Garden Avenue. Most of the parcels are currently vacant.

This is a part of the city that, like downtown, has long been dormant and that city residents say is in need of a spark.

Clearwater developer RSR Capital Advisors plans to bring luxury condos, a hotel and other features to the Marina District. (courtesy photo)

RSR plan would go a long way toward that.

While plans are still in the early stages, the developer says the goal is to build luxury condos close to the Dillion Clearwater Basin Marina at 880 N. Osceola Ave. and for office, retail, workforce housing, apartments and hotel components to go on sites farther from Clearwater Harbor.

The RSR developments will join several other projects already in the works or being considered that too aim revitalize the area both in downtown and around it.

The most talked about piece is Imagine Clearwater, an $84 million project under construction that brings a 4,000-seat covered amphitheater to Coachman Park and a walkway along the Intercoastal Waterway. Along with those elements, there will be trails that connect the park to downtown, a lake with picnic areas and an ocean-themed play area with an interactive pop-jet water feature.

A related piece of the project is the major redevelopment of two nearby properties that Clearwater’s City Council will vote on Thursday, Aug. 4.

The first is on Osceola and Cleveland Streets on the former site of what was Harborview Center. For longtime residents of the city, the property is best remembered as the home of the Maas Brothers department store, which for 30 years until it closed in 1991 was the center of downtown life in Clearwater.

The plan is for two buildings to go up on that site —  a 13-story, 150-room hotel on the north side of the property and a two-story, 12,000-square-foot building for retail on the south. There will be an underground parking component as well.

The second project is on the site of the former Clearwater City Hall building. It will include two two-story 27 story residential buildings with up to 600 units as well as 40,000 square feet of retail. 

The Aug. 4 vote is on the development agreement and the purchase and sale agreement. If approved, the project will go to a referendum in November.

North of downtown, not far from where RSR has its plans, the city is working on the proposed North Greenwood Community Redevelopment Area.

North Greenwood, according to the city, is a historically Black neighborhood primarily made up of residences with some commercial areas, light industrials, schools, churches and a library.

The idea behind forming the CRA is to “carry out redevelopment activities that reduce or eliminate blight, improve an area’s economic health and encourage public and private investment.”

Groups of residents have been gathering since January to map out the future. The effort, the city says, is being led by a steering committee made up of residents, businesses and community members “to help the city guide the process.”

Rodney Riley, the principal and CEO of RSR Capital Advisors. (courtesy photo)

RSR says it will focus on working with the CRA “to ensure that the development plans benefit the neighborhood with such needs as workforce housing.”

RSR is run by Rodney Riley, the principal and CEO of the firm. Over the years he’s developed projects in Florida, including Naples and Cape Coral, Arizona and Utah.

Riley moved from Arizona in January and lives in Clearwater full time.

RSR says it is backed by institutional and private investors “who have followed Riley on projects around the country.”

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