Commercial Project Perk Up at South Trail


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, September 19th, 2015 – Oyster Bay residents bothered by an unfinished development which has been an eyesore adjacent to their gate at Lakeshore Drive along South Tamiami Trail may now heave a sigh of relief. This 19,943-square-foot property has been sold recently, and its new owner has announced that the site will be developed into a standalone retail store, just one of the many commercial projects lined up along the South Trail.

The former owner of the site had already built structural foundations on it for what was supposed to be the site for a Shiraz Oriental Rug Gallery. This development, however, was stalled by the last recession, leaving the construction unfinished and leading to many local complaints mostly on overgrown vegetation.

Promise of a classy setup

Commercial Project Perk Up at South Trail

A permit for the demolition of the unfinished structures in the property was already filed in September 2015 and development for the new retail shop tentatively named Shelly’s Shack could start in fall. Upon completion, it promises to be an attractive addition to the entrance of the Lakeshore Drive neighborhood, with a prominent Sarasota architect, Mark Sultana, involved in this project. Notably, Sultana’s architectural firm DSDG is behind the designs of major local developments, such as the condos One88 in the Golden Gate Peninsula and the Infinity in Longboat Key.

Besides Shelly’s Shack, the commercial projects which are brewing along South Trail also include the dinner theater CineBistro scheduled to open in late 2015 at the Westfield Southgate Mall. This 35,000-square-foot venue, located at the former site of Saks Fifth Avenue, will feature a seven-screen cinema with a restaurant and a full bar.

Major mall revamp

The addition of CineBistro is a follow-through of the revitalization of Westfield Southgate for which more than $8 million has already been invested. The revamp is aimed at transforming the mall into a resort-inspired, boutique shopping hub under a new name—Westfield Siesta Key. An upscale restaurant, BRAVO! Cucina Italiana and retailers Island Purveyor, Alexander’s, and Abercrombie & Fitch are other new additions to the shopping complex.

Similarly, commercial interest is stirring up at the neighboring Paradise Plaza where décor shop Pier 1 Imports has moved to the former Borders Bookstore. A yet unnamed retailer is likewise moving into a nearby former bank site. Adjacent south of Paradise Plaza, a Verizon Wireless retail store has also taken over the former site of the Mexican restaurant, El Adobe.

The closure of this eatery, however, will be hardly felt by diners as this locality teems with other exciting options at Westfield Southgate and Paradise Plaza. Additionally, Square 1 Burgers & Bar is rising a short distance north South Trail’s junction with Stickney Point Road, yet another indication of the heightened commercial construction in the area.

Besides Oyster Bay, Granada Park is another local community which can reap some benefits from this surge of commercial projects along the South Trail. This neighborhood is a gated enclave of only 25 residences, where currently available residences include choices priced in the $300s, featuring two or three bedrooms within floor areas of 1,000 up to 1,400+ square feet. Like at Oyster Bay, there are high-end listings at Granada Park that flaunt floor plans up to around 3,000 square feet and tag prices hovering around the $1 million level.