Scientology Upgrades to Boost Taxes in Pinellas

CLEARWATER — Marble floors with patterned inlay. Plush carpeting. Mahogany paneling. Decorated crown moldings. Marble sinks. Hi-def TVs. A 32-station fitness center. An elegant restaurant.

Luxury touches abound inside downtown Clearwater’s newest waterfront hotel, the gleaming 240-room Oak Cove.

But don’t rush to pack your bags. Oak Cove is just for Scientologists.

Recently opened after a $26-million renovation, the hotel is Scientology’s newest lodging option in Clearwater, the church’s international spiritual headquarters.

Oak Cove also is the first in a series of expansion projects that will push the church’s inventory of hotel rooms in downtown Clearwater to 725.

In all, Scientology says it will spend $120-million over the next 15 months adding guest rooms and also completing — finally — its Flag Mecca Building, often called the Super Power center, which has sat unfinished and vacant for five years.

The construction surge is sure to increase Scientology’s already distinct Clearwater campus. It also will increase something less obvious — the church’s property tax bill.

Scientology course and counseling rooms and training centers are tax exempt. As renovation work progresses, they will be moved out of the Oak Cove and the better known Fort Harrison Hotel and into the Mecca Building, according to church officials.

As top-to-bottom hotels for visiting Scientologists, both the Oak Cove and the Fort Harrison, along with a soon-to-be converted condo complex on downtown’s northern edge, then would be fully taxed, increasing Scientology’s annual property tax payment. Last year, the payment was $897,559.

But as church activities are transferred to the Mecca Building, tax exemptions will move there, too. The massive building, six stories tall and encompassing a full city bock, is expected to be completely off the tax rolls.

Source:

P.T. Barnum would have been proud of the way Scientology has been separating the suckers from their money. Good thing stupid people aren’t an endangered species.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] REWahoo wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptScientology course and counseling rooms and training centers are tax exempt. As renovation work progresses, they will be moved out of the Oak Cove and the better known Fort Harrison Hotel and into the Mecca Building, according to church … […]

  2. 2

    […] A1A South wrote an interesting post today on Scientology Upgrades to Boost Taxes in PinellasHere’s a quick excerptBut as church activities are transferred to the Mecca Building, tax exemptions will move there, too….It also will increase something less obvious — the church’s property tax bill….Scientology course and counseling rooms and training centers are tax exempt….The massive building, six stories tall and encompassing a full city bock, is expected to be completely off the tax rolls…. […]


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