Opportunity Zone Program
Census Tract 259.00 (12103025900) – Downtown Clearwater
The Opportunity Zone Program was created as part of the 2017 Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Opportunity Zones are economically distressed census tracts designated by the U.S. Treasury Department. By investing in an Opportunity Zone through a qualifying Opportunity Fund, investors can defer and, in some cases, eliminate their federal capital gains tax liability. These tax benefits increase the longer investments are held. There is no cap on the amount of capital that can be invested, and the Opportunity Zone incentives can be applied to a wide range of investments in real estate and operating companies.
The Downtown Clearwater tract contains 851 acres. It is bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway on the west, Drew Street on the north, Lakeview Road on the south, and Missouri Avenue on the east.
Opportunity Zone Locator
Located in the heart of Tampa Bay's robust market, the city of Clearwater, Florida stands out for its vibrant business community, supportive city leadership, family-friendly environment, extensive indoor and outdoor activities, and untapped opportunities.
Capital Analytics Associates sat down with a panel of experts, including Denise Sanderson, city of Clearwater’s Economic Development and Housing Director; Opportunity Zone Capital’s Principals Jeanine Blake and Brion Lindseth; and Derek Mateos, President, Matcon Construction Services, to discuss Clearwater’s Opportunity Zone, how they successfully partner with the private sector to develop projects, and why Clearwater is the ideal place to do business.
Within the Opportunity Zone are three Character Districts. Within each district are the defined development potential, building heights and policies unique to each district. The following provides the specific details about each of these districts: Downtown Core, Prospect Lake and South Gateway.
Downtown Clearwater offers an emerging arts scene, a variety of international cuisines, and numerous special events and concerts along Cleveland Street and Coachman Park, which is undergoing significant renovation. It is home to the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, a live music venue that is the second highest-grossing theater of its size in the United States. This area contains a mixture of high rise condominiums, traditional Main Street retail and restaurants, offices and institutional uses.
Potential Projects: We are actively seeking a variety of mixed-use, multi-story projects with a focus on rental housing. Recent market studies indicate there is opportunity for limited-service hotels, retail and educational facilities. There is a significant concentration of tech employees in this area.
Potential Projects: The city is actively seeking a variety of housing projects from mid-rise apartments to “missing middle” type products. Recent market studies indicate there is opportunity for educational facilities like vocational training schools and office/retail/restaurants to serve the surrounding residences.
Zoning: Downtown zoning allows for a wide variety of land uses through a form-based code with a focus on high-quality urban design. Projects in this district may request additional density and floor area through the density pool process.
The South Gateway is a transition area between the more intensely developed Downtown Core, the Harbor Oaks neighborhood to the southwest, and Morton Plant Hospital further south. Recent trail improvements enhance pedestrian-friendly connectivity to downtown, the beach and other areas of the city.
Potential Projects: A variety of uses including assisted living, ground floor office/retail uses, physical therapy, and medical offices.
Located in the southern portion of the tract, this district supports a mix of uses and is characterized by historic homes, medical and medical office uses.
Recent Developments: $200 million expansion of BayCare’s Morton Plant Hospital – a Top 100 hospital in the country. New state-of-the-art robotic surgery center, expanded women’s service and orthopedic units are all designed to improve patient/ visitor and physician experience.
Woodlawn Trail, an 80-unit multifamily development on 8 acres in the Lake Belleview community, offers 2 to 3-bedroom apartments to low-to-moderate income families.
Potential Projects: Medical, office, manufacturing, retail, and commercial uses that support health and wellness.
Zoning: There are multiple zoning designations throughout this district. They range from low-density residential, to industrial to commercial.
The northern half of the tract is an Activity Center due to its designation as a Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). The southern portion of the tract contains mixed uses including residential, office, retail/services and employment.
Downtown zoning allows for a wide variety of land uses through a form-based code with a focus on high quality urban design. Within each district are the defined development potential, building heights and redevelopment policies. Projects in the downtown plan area may request additional density and floor area through the density pool process. Visit Downtown District and Design Standards for specific development standards.
The northern half is Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) and the city of Clearwater offers unique incentives as part of its CRA program including grant funding for commercial property owners for building improvements. Most of the tract is a state designated Brownfield Area and the entire tract is a NMTC Higher Distress area.
The tract holds both the city and county government centers and the county courthouse. It is a focus of redevelopment efforts through the CRA and Imagine Clearwater, a new master plan to revitalize the Clearwater waterfront. The CRA has tax increment financing funds to assist in the redevelopment and revitalization of the area. Public investments already made include substantial street-scape for Cleveland Street.