New Urbanism Poised to Resurrect Ringling Shopping Center


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, June 29th, 2016 – The new urbanism that Sarasota is pursuing via its zoning and land use codes appears as the key in resolving the issues that local residents have raised on the dormant Ringling Shopping Center east of the city center.

In June 2016, the city announced a settlement agreement with the owners of the shopping center to rezone the retail hub’s site so as to allow multi-use development. This mixed-use concept, which is one of the foundations of new urbanism, could likewise provide some tailwinds to Sarasota homes for sale at Alta Vista and other communities east of downtown.

A Super-Walmart was proposed several years ago for this 9.7-acre shopping center just east of Payne Park on South School Avenue. The city, however, turned down this proposal following residents’ objection on having a large retailer in their neighborhood.

Protracted Lawsuit Avoided

New Urbanism Poised to Resurrect Ringling Shopping Center

Formerly anchored to a Publix, the shopping complex fell into inactivity with the transfer of this supermarket to another location in 2010. With its initial redevelopment bid foiled, the owners of the shopping complex filed cases contesting the city’s decision. These potentially protracted lawsuits, however, may soon be dropped following the recent settlement agreement.

The first choice under the city’s settlement agreement is the reclassification of the shopping center’s site under the Downtown Neighborhood and Downtown Edge zoning regulations. One of the major stakeholders in the Ringling shopping center, Louis Doyle, said the mixed-use concepts pushed under these zoning rules fits well with the current market conditions.

Win-win Solution

These guidelines, Doyle added, will enable them to look at commercial and possibly residential components for their site. He also expressed optimism that under the zoning’s New Urbanist principles, they will be able to build into the center the retail options that will be welcomed by the center’s neighbors.

The neighborhoods adjacent to the shopping center are also sold on the New Urbanism zoning benchmarks as a win-win solution to the redevelopment of the Ringling shopping complex. The president of the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association, Larry Silvermintz, said a long-term plan for the property is what they are eager to see. He stressed that reviving local economic activity and providing an added come-on to new residents are also in their interest for the community.

Sales Push for Homes

The imminent redevelopment on the Ringling Shopping Center should also bring cheer to some local builders like David Weekley Homes. A spec home and two pre-construction house models have been lined up by this company amongst Sarasota homes for sale at Alta Vista. All of these are on Wood Street a short distance south of the shopping complex. These residences have floor plans of about 2,500 square designed with four bedrooms and are priced in the $500s.

In May 2016, a meticulously restored mid-1950s home in this street was likewise listed amongst Sarasota homes for sale. This quaint three-bedroom residence has a floor area of 1,232 square feet and looks enticing at its asking price in the $300s given the positive New Urbanism steps being taken for the Ringling Shopping Center.