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Development of downtown called too slow

Title: Development of downtown called too slow
Date: Wednesday, 29 July 1981
Publisher: St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Author: Gary McElroy
Main source: news.google.ca

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CLEARWATER — Even as proposed plans were being unveiled Tuesday afternoon for a new hotel-retail complex along Clearwater's bayfront, a Church of Scientology group was saying hotel development here has been too slow. They say they have plans of their own.

The group, New Clearwater for the 80s, has compiled a voluminous "Clearwater Downtown Development Data Pack" that they say will bring developers and investors, "especially hotel developers, into downtown Clearwater."

The packet consists of maps, copies of a City of Clearwater zoning ordinance creating a downtown development district and several copies of local newspaper stories that record new growth in the downtown area.

Stapled to the front of the packet is a business card from Fred Howard Real Estate in Tarpon Springs. Bill Howard, a partner in the business, is a former Tarpon Springs city commissioner who has acknowledged an interest in Scientology.

Regarding the proposed bayfront development, Laura Wolfe, executive director of New Clearwater for the 80s, said: "There has been much discussion about (Miami developer) Maurice Alpert building his Bay Club Inn next to Maas Brothers, but no firm commitment has been made so far."

She said her organization "relaxed its attention and efforts on the hotel-retail complex when it was made known that Alpert was going to build one. But this has gone on for over six months, and we feel it is time now for some action."

She described the proposed complex as the "key factor to the revitalization of downtown Clearwater."

"So, (New Clearwater for the 80s) is going to bring in other hotel developers to see if we can get something going much sooner, possibly utilizing the same location next to Maas Brothers," she said.

Mrs. Wolfe said the Scientology group has been in touch with "business people" from Los Angeles, Boston and Europe in an effort to get hotel development started here.