Clearwater mayor hoping to work with Church of Scientology on downtown development

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CLEARWATER, Fla.Several properties in downtown Clearwater are now in the hands of Church of Scientology members. While many of them are vacant, it comes at a time when the city aggressively works to revitalize downtown.

The most recent set of purchases made by LLCs associated with the church include eight properties worth a combined $57 million. One of the buildings is currently being leased by the city and houses the City of Clearwater’s government offices. Mayor Bruce Rector is hopeful the city’s relationship with the church improves, so they can work together to revitalize downtown.

An 11-story office building known as One Clearwater Tower is among the latest properties in downtown Clearwater sold to LLCs associated with the Church of Scientology. It’s part of a trend that’s been going on for years. Since 2017, entities tied to the Church of Scientology have bought 200-some properties in and around downtown, broadening the church’s control over what comes into the area.

“Clearwater citizens want to see a balanced downtown Clearwater, something other than just Scientology, so that’s our goal is to create that balance. That’s what our citizens want us to do,” Mayor Rector said.

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