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Clearwater Marine Aquarium buys land

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  • | 3:53 p.m. February 11, 2011
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Tampa Bay–Lakeland
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BUYER: Clearwater Marine Aquarium Inc. (principals: Thomas Orr, John Draheim, Rosemary Longenecker, Bruce Veghte, David Yates and Frank Dame), Clearwater

SELLER: Harbour Estates LLC

PROPERTY: a portion of Winward Passage east of Island Way, Clearwater

PRICE: $3.1 million

PREVIOUS PRICE: $3 million, May 2005

LAW FIRM ON DEED: Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen, Clearwater

PLANS, DESCRIPTION: The Clearwater Marine Aquarium purchased a 1.47-acre site east of the existing aquarium facilities for $3.1 million.

The price equated to $2.11 million per acre.

The aquarium plans to use the vacant site for additional surface parking in the short-term. Eventually, however, it hopes to build a facility on the site to expand either its animal rehabilitation or environmental education and research work.

The property previously housed a boat repair and sales business, but those facilities were demolished in favor of proposed developments that never materialized.

“It was going to be a nine-story condominium tower, but that project went under,” says Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates. “The next option they looked at was as a hotel.”

The aquarium financed the purchase through grants, private donations and an industrial revenue bond through the Pinellas County Economic Development Authority/Industrial Development Authority. The grants include $1 million from the Jacobson Foundation and $750,000 from the city of Clearwater.

The nonprofit aquarium has plans for more capital improvements, including a chloride mitigation system, animal care areas, bleachers and a 1,000-seat arena. An 11,300-square-foot addition to the existing aquarium and an additional parking garage are also in the future plans.


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