The Willis B. Powell Building was completed from 1913-1914 and housed the offices and printing plant of Powells' newspaper, the St. Petersburg Independent. Powell established the newspaper in 1906, making it the first daily in Clearwater-St. Petersburg. The building was also home to the Clearwater Daily Sun-later the Evening Sun. Powell sold the Sun in 1916, declaring that he intended to take an automobile tour of the United States and return as a free lance. The building was acquired in 2012 by the city of Clearwater as part of their effort to restore and operate the Capitol Theatre.
Prior to the construction of the Powell Building, this was the site of N.N. Friend Dry Goods & Grocery Store. The store was destroyed by fire in 1910 and replaced by the current building, which housed Powell's newspaper and People's Bank.