Downtown Clearwater Offers Money to Lure Pubs, Restaurants
The goal of the city’s “loan-to-grant” funding is to transform downtown Clearwater into a vibrant destination for people to live, work and play.
CLEARWATER – A new incentive program is designed to entice brew pubs and restaurants to locate in downtown Clearwater.
The Anchor Tenant Incentive Program, which was approved Monday (June 12) Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency board, will provide loan-to-grant funding of up to $250,000 to participating property owners and commercial tenants in downtown Clearwater.
The program’s goal is to attract anchor restaurants and brew pubs to downtown Clearwater, which will open the door for other retailers and entrepreneurs to invest downtown. The city’s revitalization strategy focuses on growing downtown’s dining, entertainment, business and art scene. The strategy leverages downtown Clearwater’s potential as a vibrant destination for people
of all backgrounds to live, work and play.
The term of the loan will be five years from the issuance of a certificate of Occupancy. For each year the business is open and operating, 20 percent of the loan will be forgiven. After five years that the business is open and operating, the loan will be forgiven entirely and converted into a grant.
“Downtown Clearwater is aggressively positioning itself as a premier destination for dining, entertainment, business, arts and culture,” said Seth Taylor, director of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency. “The Anchor Tenant Incentive Program will give that extra boost for businesses to locate here and succeed. We are thrilled to announce this new program and ready to attract and partner with the best Tampa Bay businesses for our fast-growing downtown,” Taylor said.
Paris Morfopoulos, chairman of the Downtown Development Board, said, “The Anchor Tenant Incentive Program can provide the critical element necessary to induce prospective major tenants to locate in our downtown. A loan-to-grant program provides a powerful financial incentive to start an anchor restaurant (or similar activity) in our downtown district and then the motivation to continue to pursue it to ultimate success despite the hardships involved in getting any new enterprise off the ground. I am fully in favor of this program.”
Support for the program also came from the Clearwater Downtown Partnership.
“The Community Redevelopment Agency’s Anchor Tenant Incentive Program is exactly the type of economic incentive we need to help downtown Clearwater realize its full potential as one of Florida’s great urban waterfront destinations,” said Jay Polglaze, the Downtown Partnership’s executive director. “The Clearwater Downtown Partnership fully supports this program, and we look forward to welcoming program participants to our growing business community.”
Program participants can receive a maximum of $250,000 that must be dedicated to interior building improvements.
The interior building improvements include:
* American with Disabilities Act requirements
* Florida Fire Protection Code requirements
* Air conditioning, heating and mechanical upgrades
* Plumbing and electrical improvements
* Structural stabilization including repair and replacement of foundations,footers, load-bearing walls and roofing systems
* Room and space reconfiguration including wall relocation
* Energy efficiency enhancements
Participants can also use the loan-to-grant incentive program for business start-up costs, including rent subsidy, furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Business plans that offer a unique and enterprising project that serves as a business catalyst for downtown Clearwater can apply for additional financial incentives, above the $250,000 for interior building improvements, through the Anchor Tenant Incentive Program.
Applications for the Anchor Tenant Incentive Program will be reviewed by a committee comprised of city staff. The committee’s recommendation will be presented to the Community Redevelopment Agency board, which is made up of the City Council, for approval.
For information about Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency, go to myclearwater.com.
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