Benderson Pepping Up East County


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, May 4th, 2016 – Value-added developments for properties in Fruitville Park, Southpointe Meadows, Pine Valley, Fox Creek Acres and other Sarasota homes for sale in East County appear forthcoming. Benderson, the co-developer of the Mall at the University Town Center, is constructing a 10,000-square-foot commercial building at 5354 Fruitville Road north of the retailer Target in the Sarasota Towne Center Plaza. At the same time, the developer also said it is moving forward with a mixed-use development at the southeast corner of Fruitville and Coburn Roads.

County documents indicate that Benderson’s new building in the Plaza, strategically located at the southeast intersection of Fruitville Road and Avenue, will be occupied by Chipotle Mexican Grill and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The entry of these two fast-food chain outlets further enlivens the locality’s restaurant scene which in recent years saw the opening of Fuzzy’s Taco, Chicken Kitchen, Blaze Pizza, amongst other outlets. Before year-end of 2016, Miami’s Pollo Tropical is likewise anticipated to inaugurate an outlet across the street from the new Benderson site.

Other tenants at the Plaza include Longhorn Steakhouse, Firehouse Subs, Chick-fil-A, Petland, Dollar Tree and Winn-Dixie. Across on Fruitville Road’s north side, diners’ choices are Taco Bell and Checkers.

Fruitville Initiative Moves Forward

Benderson Pepping Up East County

About a mile east of the Plaza past Interstate 75, Benderson has committed to start in September of 2016 construction of a linear park that it says would eventually lead up to a mix of office and multi-family units. The developer earlier petitioned the county for a rezoning of this 42-acre property it bought from the county in 2014. Its petition batted for the establishment of an industrial park, but the county commissioners unanimously turned this down. This denial came following opposition of the local residents who feared that Benderson’s industrial park plan could drag down local property values as well as degrade the nearby Celery Fields nature preserve and discourage businesses and other homes from building in their district.

Prior to the county’s sale of the property to Benderson, a development plan called Fruitville Initiative costing nearly $1 million which took years to prepare has already been formulated for the coveted site. Viewed as a gateway to the county and the region’s most-used interstate exit, this area was envisioned under the plan as a commercial district in the mold of the main retail center in Lakewood Ranch.

Multi-family Housing in the Blueprint

The planning and zoning rules adopted under the Fruitville Initiative encourage a new urban hub of mixed-use buildings and pedestrian-friendly connected streets. Foiled in its bid for a rezoning, Benderson said it now plans to fully comply with the Fruitville Initiative’s vision.

The developer’s commitment to start in construction by September 2016 covers not only for the linear park located directly north of the 300-acre Celery Fields. In addition, the developer will also construct a street that will connect the park, which will have some shade trees and benches, directly to Fruitville Road. Likewise, it will begin development on three of the seven parcels within the property’s boundary.

Entitlements for the whole property have been set at 300 multi-family units, retail, industrial, and office space. Benderson said that ultimately the property will be a mix of multi-family dwellings and office space and that it will proceed with the development based on demand in the market.