Deal adds parking for 300 at beach

The city agrees to pay $1.45-million for a new $4.5-million garage on N Mandalay Avenue.
CLEARWATER - Three hundred new parking spaces are coming to Clearwater Beach, courtesy of a deal sealed Monday between the city and Pelican Walk owner Louie Anastasopoulos.

Set to be inked formally Thursday by city commissioners, the agreement caps a year of negotiations and will boost the number of public spaces available on north beach by 58 percent.

"I've waited a long time for this," said Mayor Brian Aungst. "All I can say is hallelujah."

Under the deal, the city will kick in $1.45-million for the $4.5-million garage on N Mandalay Avenue. In return, the garage will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rates will be capped at $3.75 per hour, or 11/2 times the city's rates, which ever is higher. At the moment, city spaces on the beach range from $1 to $2 an hour, with a $10 daily maximum at the cashier lots at Pier 60 and along S Gulfview Boulevard.

Planned roughly 800 feet from the sand, the garage is expected to serve businesses along Mandalay and, to a lesser extent, the beach. It won't end the dearth of parking on busy weekends and during spring break, and the need is still critical on south beach, where plans to build surface parking have foundered.

But officials call the Pelican Walk garage a good start.

"It looks like the best situation we could have asked for," said Commissioner Whitney Gray.

Anastasopoulos will own the property, build the garage and operate it privately. The city will be able to review and approve designs, then inspect construction. The garage will be built to last at least 40 years, and the finished building must be able to support 200 more spaces to be built on top.

The garage is planned for the east side of Pelican Walk on Poinsettia Avenue, just south of Baymont Street. Construction is set to begin within the year and finish no more than 10 months later.

On south beach, the picture is hazier.

Plans to build a 155-space parking lot on S Gulfview Boulevard have stalled amid a weak economy and competing lawsuits. On Tuesday, the city granted attorney Bill Kimpton a nine-month extension to build the lot, which was supposed to be finished by the end of next month.

The parking lot is meant as a stopgap for his long-promised $90-million luxury beach resort.

City officials have said they want construction on the lot finished by spring.

- Jennifer Farrell can be reached at 445-4160 or
St. Petersburg Times
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