One year later, Clearwater’s downtown incentive program brings no deals


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One year later, Clearwater’s downtown incentive program brings no deals
By Tracey McManus, Times Staff Writer
Published: June 6, 2018

CLEARWATER — It was pitched as the boldest revitalization strategy yet. The city was so serious about bringing business into downtown, it would essentially pay investors to take the chance.
The Anchor Tenant Incentive Program unveiled in June 2017 offered $250,000 loans for start-up costs and building renovations that would not have to be paid back if the business stayed operating for at least five years.
Thirty-five applied for the incentive, some established entrepreneurs with legitimate business plans, according to records provided by the city. Others had little more to offer than a pipe dream.
But one year after the program launched, not one penny of incentive funding has been awarded.
Various officials blame an underwhelming applicant pool, program requirements still being ironed out and a shakeup in leadership of the Community Redevelopment Agency, which administers the grant, that threw the program in limbo.

Polglaze said the incentive was designed to be ambitious. Downtown, he said, had been struggling under the city’s reputation for overcomplicated permitting and a sense the Church of Scientology’s international headquarters had a stronghold on real estate.

"You’ve got this perception that we realized an incentive program is going to have to be not only very motivational and generous, it’s going to have to be something that’s going to raise eyebrows for people to come," Polglaze said.


Orlando Weekly

Mai Bistro offers fresh, luscious renditions of Vietnamese street fare
By Faiyaz Kara

We Orlandoans have become accustomed to our mighty fine Vietnamese restaurants and their brisk service – so much so that a fast-casual Vietnamese joint seems entirely unnecessary, doesn't it? But there Mai Bistro stands, where the Church of Scientology once did, in all its spotless, mirrored, gleaming and Hubbard-free glory. A good many of the street-food dishes Mai offers are displayed as still lifes on the order counter, perhaps as a ploy to attract neophytes, or to visually mollify the fearful. In actuality, those spiritless bowls and plates of food don't exactly stimulate the salivary glands, but as works of gastronomic art? Well, I suppose that's in the eye of the beholder
By Faiyaz Kara

Hubbard free glory=flourish and prosper

Get it Clearwater!
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