Construction underway at Clearwater Marina near Pier 60

Marina Cantina wil occupy second and third floor


The Clearwater Marina was once the hub of activity on the beach.  Now, construction has begun on a project that city officials hope will transform the marina back to some of its glory.

"It really is a win for all concerned and the community," said Bill Morris, Clearwater's Director of Marine and Aviation.

Although construction is at a standstill during the holidays, work is well under way to give the Clearwater Marina not only a facelift, but an economic boost.

"The community's getting a building that's going to have the look and feel of what it did back in the '50's and '60's," said Morris.

The original nautical design will house the modern Marina Cantina Tequila Bar and Grille.  It's a multi-million dollar makeover that's being paid for by local restaurateur Frank Chivas, owner of Island Way, Salt Rock and Rumba Grills.

"This one is really going to be like a crowning jewel for him and for the city, so we're really excited about it," Morris added.

The Cantina will feature indoor and outdoor seating taking up the entire second floor, along with a rooftop tiki deck.

"I think it's great.  I think it's great what's happening here, we kind of miss the old Florida from being back here years and years ago.  I think it's a great concept; a great, great concept," said Vicki Rehkopf, who's visiting from Michigan.

Some of the first floor businesses have been inconvenienced during early phases of construction. From fishing boats to food, most agree the increased foot traffic is needed.

"I think growth and cosmetic changes are good, it's needed.  Over time, things break down and it's needed.  We need to be revived in this area.  The marina needs to be noticed," explained Patti Wolkowsky, owner of a small restaurant inside the marina.

The Marina Cantina is expected to open in September.