Dunedin stands on the edge of a number of changes including a new state-of-the-art skate park, a new Marker One Marina, a new downtown retail/business/ residential development designed to make the west entry to main street more attractive, road and bridge improvements, the return of the former Schiller University site to its original use as an upscale hotel and the salvation and planned restoration of the historic Honey House, formerly a part of the failed Dunedin Station project.
These changes follow the city’s tremendously successful new Community Center project. The $8 Million Center, located in Highlander Park opened its doors to the public this January and offers classes in everything from yoga to hip hop and provides a home to community theater and performance groups. The Center features both an indoor and an outdoor stage, a recording studio, a fi tness center, a state-of-the-art dance studio and a branch library. The complex is the most expensive building the city has constructed to date. The project was fi nanced by the Penny For Pinellas Sales Tax. The building’s design was shaped by public opinion in meetings held on the former site of the Community Center from 2003 through 2005.
The city has further plans to keep youth off the streets by building a state-of-the-art $542,000 Skate Park that Dunedin Mayor Bob Hackworth told the St. Petersburg Times he expects to attract people from all over the region. He expects it to be among the four or fi ve best skate parks in the country. The complex will be located next to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, and will replace the city’s fi rst skate park, built in 2001, which was demolished in 2003 when it’s wooden structure because unstable. The city will seek federal grant money to cover part of the project’s cost. The Park’s features will include two backto- back angled manual pads/grind boxes, two long sets of three and five stairs each, with a long handrail on the fi ve stair set, a banked curb, a beginner’s rail and a kicker to ledge on its street course, and a cradle corner, two hips, a 12-foot pool coping extension two escalators and eight corners in its fl ow bowl with depths of 5 to 7 feet.
Dunedin’s two current road projects, one on Douglas Avenue from Albert Street to Lexington, the other, hotel will have 150 rooms with a six-and-a-half foot surrounding wall to minimize interference with surrounding residences. Two rectangular additions will be added in the front of the original building. The building, already bearing the sign Fenway, has been leased in the interim to Washburn Academy a small private school that uses study techniques developed by L.Ron Hubbard.
Proponents of the hotel pointed out its historic signifi cance. Roberto Sanchez of Dunedin, Rahdert’s architect for the Schiller project, said he plans to register the restored hotel with the national register of historic places. Rahdert has previously restored buildings in St. Petersburg, including the historic Mansion by the Bay. Nearby on the Edgewater Marina front, it is clear that not all proposed changes are approved by the Dunedin City Commission. Kelly Prior, developer of the Dunedin Marina View Luxury Condominium project, a proposed five-story, 12-unit luxury condo complex at 715 Edgewater Drive, sued the city in September 2006 over its rejection of the project, contending that officials changed standards for approval of the project in the midst of the hearing process when it dismissed the project as incompatible with its surroundings. The site is across the street from Edgewater Park. In February 2007, Port Royal Condos, a proposed fi ve-story 75 condo project proposed for the site currently occupied by Bon Appetit restaurant and The Best Western Hotel at 150 Marina Plaza, was denied by the City Commission for the same reason. All residents speaking at the Port Royale hearing said they wanted offi cials to deny the plan, saying it wo