It also represents an important step in bringing new life to downtown in terms of sheer beauty.
The plans were introduced to Scientologists in Clearwater and throughout the world by Mr. David Miscavige on March 13 at a special event in the Fort Harrison (see “Annual Tribute Draws Record Numbers,”).
By means of a state-of-the-art, computer-generated video “fly-through,” the audience was taken through every floor and facility of the new building.
Planned for downtown directly opposite the Fort Harrison, it will be a five-story structure for ministering Church services. The video’s detail was remarkable, right down to fabric patterns intended for carpets, furniture and wall-coverings.
The architectural style of the new structure will echo the Mediterranean motif of the Fort Harrison hotel and feature a classic look that recalls the timeless elegance of southern Florida.
The City recently unveiled plans for redeveloping portions of Clearwater, including the waterfront area, downtown, Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Greenwood. The Church’s new building fully complements that vision. Moreover, according to Church architects and contractors, it will serve as an example for further efforts to beautify the downtown.
A focal point of the new structure will be the expansive Grand Lobby, featuring visual, sculptured representations of many of the basic elements of the religious philosophy of Scientology, enabling visitors to walk in and easily “see” key principles of Scientology.
A public film room will make it easy for the local community, visitors and others new to Scientology to view introductory films, such as the popular “Orientation,” already seen by many Clearwater residents.
“The video presentation on the new building was just amazing,” said Caroline Bradham, a resident new to Clearwater, who saw the event on March 13th. “You could really see how well all parts have been thought through. But the most important thing is how much the realization of these plans will mean to Scientologists and to the Clearwater community.”
he announcement of new, detailed plans for construction and expansion of Church of Scientology facilities was one of the most significant and exciting moments at a recent celebration attended by thousands at the Fort Harrison religious retreat.
Fort Harrison Restoration
With all Church services relocated to the new building, the historic Fort Harrison will also be fully restored. The video fly-through also presented highlights of this restoration.
Top to bottom, the Fort Harrison will return to its original 1927 splendor, serving not only Church parishioners but providing a venue for a wide range of events for the entire Clearwater community.
“What this means is that the Fort Harrison will once again be strictly a hotel for visiting Church parishioners,” said Church spokesman Brian Anderson, “but facilities such as the auditorium, the Crystal Ballroom and so on — these will be available to all Clearwater residents.”
The landmark hotel was very run-down at the time the Church acquired it in 1975 and the Church has spent considerable effort over the past two decades to bring it to its present, high-quality condition.
The new plans will take it to an entirely new — and, at the same time, “old” — level.
Anderson noted that this was successfully done with the Clearwater Building, fully restored to its former grandeur and today available as a focal point for a wide variety of artistic, charitable, community and educational events and activities.
Local contractors have already praised the project for the job opportunities it will offer to local tradesmen.
Brian Anderson stressed that the greatest value of the project is what it will mean for Clearwater in the long-term: “Clearwater is already well-known for its beautiful beaches and friendly people. People come to visit from all over the world. It’s important that the downtown continue moving up to a higher standard because it, too, can be a point of attraction. Our efforts in downtown will play a major role in that.”
The chapel will impart fundamentals of Scientology etched into stone and on stained glass.
Views of the new facilities and offices planned for the new building.