CLEARWATER — A 642-space parking garage on the northern side of Clearwater Beach gained unanimous final approval by City Council Wednesday night.
The seven-story Pelican Walk garage is aimed at serving employees and customers at the bustling Mandalay Avenue retail center.
The city gave initial approval in June to a development agreement with Safety Harbor-based Paradise Ventures to pay $11.3 million to lease 450 spaces in the planned garage.
Earlier plans called for the developer to dedicate spaces on the first and top floors to retail employees, customers and nearby condominium residents.
The final agreement leaves it up to the developer to choose whether to lease or charge hourly for the 89 spaces on the first floor and 103 spaces on the upper floors.
The plans have drawn opposition from some beach residents who complained about added traffic congestion and more visitors overwhelming small beach access points.
City leaders and business owners maintain existing parking spots can’t accommodate the number of workers, shoppers and beachgoers that pour into the beach every day, especially during weekends and holidays.
The city will pay for its portion of the garage project through parking system revenue at other public parking lots, Assistant City Manager Rod Irwin said.
“The parking system would fully fund the garage as contemplated,” he said at a city workshop meeting Monday.
Parking revenue has gone up in the past three years at the city’s main beach lots and a recent parking study estimates a new garage would generate a net operating income of nearly $800,000 during its first full year, planned for 2017.