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CLEARWATER, FL-Although the first shovel won’t be turned for at least two years, Downtown Clearwater on Florida’s west central coast may see the start of its first redevelopment in decades some time in 2003 if blueprints being studied by locally based Colliers Arnold Commercial Real Estate Services pan out.

The planned $80 million project could entail a 17-story, 92-unit condominium community, high-end retail and an 86-room boutique hotel on a site now occupied by Colliers Arnold’s headquarter building at Drew Street and Osceola Avenue. Clearwater is 80 miles west of Downtown Orlando.

The firm’s headquarters, housing 35 professionals, would probably be moved to an undetermined site.

The condos could average 2,700 sf of living space, priced at an average $850,000 per unit. That would put the total buildout value of the condos alone at an estimated $78.2 million. The site is across from the the proposed $25 million regional library complex.

Architect Richard Gillette, who has offices in Sarasota, Miami and London, has completed initial conceptual plans for the project. “The preliminary indications are very strong” the project will be a go, Lee Arnold, chairman, Colliers Arnold, says in a prepared statement.

The developer is confident the venture would expand Clearwater’s tax base without increasing the need for new community services.

The redevelopment could also lead to a new hospitality marketing role for Clearwater itself.

“We are examining several different boutique hotel models and we expect to develop a luxury resort destination that enhances and expands the reputation Clearwater enjoys worldwide,” Arnold says.

He is confident the planned project won’t be sidelined by a struggling economy. “Beyond the short-term economic blips the nation’s economy is now experiencing, the mid-term and long-term strength of our local economy is abundant,” Arnold says.

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