Watch Downtown Sarasota Bounce More in 2016


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, January 4th, 2016 – Sarasota downtown property developers appear not yet ready to hang up their spades as three more building projects begun moving forward in December, promising to further add vibrancy to the real estate market in the city’s core in 2016.

With 2015 drawing to a close, GreenPointe Communities wrote the city government asking for a community workshop to consider street right-of-way at El Vernona Avenue and a nearby alley in the downtown’s northern bayfront. The Jacksonville, Florida-based company intends to use this easement to pursue development of the 14-acre former site of Sarasota Quay just west of Rosemary District.

Quay condos

Watch Downtown Sarasota Bounce More in 2016

GreenPointe bought the Quay property for $27 million in December 2014 from Irish developer Patrick Kelly whose mixed-use project in the site fizzled out due to the Great Recession. This stalled development has been previously approved for 695 condos and townhouses, as well as 175 hotel rooms.

GreenPointe’s own Quay plan is yet to be finalized, but it disclosed earlier that it “will undertake a phased development plan for the property to include residential, commercial, retail and hospitality elements.” In its letter to the city, the developer promised to create in the former Quay “an inviting walkable environment” with well-landscaped sidewalks that enhance pedestrian traffic.

Boutique hotel

Just a few blocks northeast of the Quay, plans are likewise brewing for a proposed 76-room boutique hotel tentatively called “The Sarasota.” The proponent of this project is Boston-based developer Jason Cincotta who bought a 10,500-square-foot vacant lot at 5th Street to complete a nearly one-acre site for the hotel. Cincotta already owns an empty adjoining lot at 599 Cocoanut Avenue.

Besides the hotel, this project also includes a restaurant, valet parking and a couple of loading zones, for which an adjustment to the city’s zoning code has been applied for. The vision of the project, as per its planning consultant’s letter to the city, is to “to create a resort-like atmosphere in an upscale facility with a high level of on-site amenities.”

Main Plaza makeover

Deeper into the downtown core, some excitement is likewise being generated by a three-phased revitalization announced for the 8.6-acre Main Plaza which is currently anchored on the Hollywood 20 movie theater. Acquired by a new owner, BBC Plaza, in November 2015, this Main Street mall will initially have a series of improvements on its retail spaces. Also planned are a revamp of the entrances to the mall and its façade.

The rehabilitation of the movie theater constitutes the project’s second phase. More ambitious steps are being considered for the third phase, such as building a mixed use, large structure on the northern side of Main Plaza for multi-family housing, a hotel or a conference center.

Inventory pluses

All told as of December 2015, the development projects either under construction or in the planning stage in and around downtown Sarasota would add a total of 1,469 condos and 1,007 hotel rooms. The new condominiums include the proposed 157-unit City Place at Pineapple Square and the 114-unit The Vue slated for completion in Fall/Winter of 2016. The latter’s adjacent Westin will bring in 255 new hotel rooms as well, and in the Spring/Summer of 2017, 200 additional rooms are expected at another upcoming downtown hotel, Embassy Suites and Spa.

These fast-emerging new developments appear providing some market impetus to properties already built-up in the downtown and nearby areas. At 5th Street in Rosemary district, for instance, two sales listings have surfaced at the live-work, mixed-use property called Plat of Sarasota Exhibit. Striking in their contemporary architectural style, these are offered at asking prices in the $2 million range. Some boost is likewise bound to be felt on Sarasota condos for sale at the district’s Vanguard Lofts which has already pre-sold five of its six units priced around the $600s.