Artist Rendering: Stantec

“In May, as costs of building materials soared, City Council members postponed a groundbreaking for the downtown waterfront’s transformation until they got a final construction price from the contractor.

Now Imagine Clearwater’s final price tag is in at $84 million, which is $20 million higher than the estimate officials had long discussed.

About $14.5 million of the increase comes from higher prices of building materials and the council’s decision to add back amenities that had previously been downsized, like water features, shade structures and landscaping, according to engineering director Tara Kivett. The project also had additional design costs and staff hours resulting from the council’s decision to change aspects of the plan over the last few years, Kivett said.

The renovation of the 22-acre waterfront into a regional park with an outdoor amphitheater, bluff walk, gateway plaza, garden and lake area has been pitched as a way to bring life to a downtown that has been depressed for decades.

Assistant City Manager Michael Delk said the price reflects the scope of one of the largest infrastructure projects the city has ever undertaken and the impact it is attempting to bring.

‘This will define our waterfront for the remainder of the century,’ Delk said. ‘You don’t tackle something like this very often. And when you do, I think you need to construct what has lasting value, lasting significance, and I think that’s where we’re ending up…’

If the council votes to proceed, construction is expected to be completed in July 2023. Underground utility work is already underway…

Last month, the City Council also began negotiations with City Center Development, led by Craig Govan, for the redevelopment of the three parcels bordering the park. Govan has proposed building a two-story food hall and brewery on the corner of Osceola Avenue and Cleveland Street; a 207-unit multifamily building with a grocery, retail stores and a restaurant on the site of the vacant City Hall on Osceola Avenue and Pierce Street; and a 100-room hotel on the vacant lot on Pierce Street…”

— Tracey McManus, Tampa Bay Times

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