All told, the four projects that are expected to be under construction will bring a mix of 1,000 new upscale and mid-scale rooms to the narrow barrier island that lies just northwest of St. Petersburg. Until recently, South Clearwater Beach was mainly dotted with old-style lodges from the 1950s and ’60s.
“It’s huge, because the demand is as high as it has ever been,” said Leroy Bridges, a spokesman for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. “Adding these rooms and these options is going to help meet that demand.”
- Crews are already working on three of the new projects. In January, developers broke ground on the 15-story Wyndham Grand® Resort. Upon completion (slated for 2017) the Wyndham’s 450 rooms will make it the largest hotel on the narrow barrier island.
- Further along is Opal Sands, an upscale, 230-room hotel that is also scheduled to open next February. Among the offerings at the 15-story hotel will be a spa and balconies sitting directly over the beach.
- Nearby, the 181-room Clearwater Beach Hampton Inn is underway. And those three projects are expected to soon be joined by a 125-room Holiday Inn.
Like many Florida markets, the St. Pete/Clearwater area has enjoyed a boom in visitation over the past several years. Some 3.2 million people spent at least a night in a Pinellas County lodge, campground or motor home park in 2014, according to data from the county’s convention and business bureau, up from just more than 2.5 million in 2010. (Pinellas includes Clearwater and St. Pete)
Robust visitation, though, isn’t the main cause of the Clearwater Beach development boom, said Ed Armstrong, a land-use attorney who has worked on the Opal Sands and Hampton Inn projects. An even bigger incentive has been temporary land-use rules instituted by the city of Clearwater to spur hotel development. In 2009, the town decreed that up to 1,200 midscale hotel units could be developed at triple the usual density per acre; projects such as the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn are taking advantage of that rule. Meanwhile, the Wyndham Grand® is taking advantage of a similar such incentive that Clearwater had early targeted toward higher-end hotels.
Upping density allowances changed the financial calculations involved in developing on Clearwater Beach’s expensive waterfront property.
“It drastically altered the economics on Clearwater Beach in a very positive way,” Armstrong said.
Direct Beachfront with 230 Waterfront Rooms/Suites with Balconies
A refreshing blend of casual beachfront luxury and the lively ambiance of Clearwater Beach, guests will enjoy an array of leisure options. From long walks on pristine white sand beaches and a swim in the Gulf, to pampering spa services and poolside cocktails, this location will offer everything you’ve dreamed of in a luxury resort.
- All 230 guest rooms and suites are oceanfront, with private balconies offering spectacular views of the Gulf
- Directly on the ocean and beach
- Spectacular zero-entry outdoor pool and sun deck
- Large fitness center
- Full-service spa
- Waterfront dining and beach bar
- All valet and indoor parking
- Retail Shops
Construction of the 450-room Wyndham Grand® Resort Clearwater Beach has begun on South Gulfview Boulevard at the north end of the prominent Beach Walk. Proposed as one of the largest hotel resorts in the area, the hotel is scheduled to open in early 2017. With approximately 24,000 square feet of event space, the resort will also house one of the largest banquet and meeting facilities in Pinellas County.
Services and amenities at Wyndham Grand® Resort will include:
- Immediate access to top-rated Clearwater Beach
- A large outdoor pool complex
- Full-service Spa
- Multiple restaurants accessible from Beach Walk
Bay9 News August 2015