Why It Took 5 Years to Give Away This Free Christian College Campus

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Jim's picture

What's next for waterfront Clearwater Christian College site? [July 2015]

It looks like a prime development opportunity. Look closer, though, and it turns out to be more complicated than that. A developer seeking to build condo towers on the site, for instance, would have to contend with strict environmental regulations. "If someone contemplated increasing the density or intensity of that site, clearly you'd have some regulatory constraints because of the wetlands and the low elevation," said Michael Delk, Clearwater's director of planning and development. "It just needs to be carefully considered." The college's isolated campus is seldom seen by outsiders, tucked away behind a security gate off Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. It has an assessed value of nearly $8.9 million, according to the Pinellas County property appraiser.

Clearwater Christian College property sold [July 2016]

The city of Clearwater finalized its purchase of Clearwater Christian College land last week for $1.36 million, and officials hope to use the acquired land for environmental protection. The city closed on the property at the base of Tampa Bay at the West end of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. The acquisition includes the entire property northeast of Gulf-to-Bay and Bayshore Boulevards, but does not include the actual campus. The shuttered school will maintain ownership of that portion of the property. The city expects to develop a master plan for the 80 acres of wetlands. “This purchase emphasizes the city’s commitment to Clearwater’s environmental future,” said Mayor George Cretekos. “Residents can now look forward to being able to enjoy this land as a natural preserve with improved bay water quality for years to come.” The acquired property also includes 6 acres of uplands near the east side of Bayshore Boulevard. The city’s engineering department will manage the land. The master plan developed will identify projects intended to improve water quality and restore the natural environment.

Dr. Kiran Patel buys shuttered Clearwater Christian College (December 2016)

The property is where he plans to bring to life his vision of an osteopathic medical school, with aspirations of both local and international impact.

Clearwater Christian College property sold

Health care executive and philanthropist Kiran Patel has purchased the former Clearwater Christian College property with plans to develop an osteopathic medical school on the 25-acre campus overlooking Old Tampa Bay. Patel, chairman of Tampa-based Freedom Health, closed on the $12 million purchase at the west end of the Courtney Campbell Causeway on Thursday, he confirmed. He plans to develop the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, catering to both domestic and international students, especially from India and Africa, who otherwise could not afford medical training. One goal, he said, is to train doctors who can return to their home countries and treat underserved communities. "It is not easy — there are a lot of challenges — but if somebody's heart is there and doing the right thing, the right results will follow," Patel said. Patel said he plans to have the school open to serve 100 to 150 students by September 2018 or early 2019 after the credentialing and certification process. Osteopathy focuses on the muscular and skeletal systems through massage and other physical manipulation, and more than 20 percent of U.S. medical students are training to become osteopathic physicians. Patel estimates it could cost $50 million to launch the school, most of which will come from his own pockets, although having existing classroom infrastructure and dormitories significantly reduces costs. The private Clearwater Christian College, founded in 1966, shuttered last year amid dwindling enrollment, increased debt and a lack of endowments.

Bert Perry's picture

...the topic would be Northland and they'd have good news.  Bummer.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.