Five offers come in for city-owned parking lot near St. Armands Circle

·3 min read
This is a rendering of the proposed development of a hotel and grocer on a city-owned parking lot.
This is a rendering of the proposed development of a hotel and grocer on a city-owned parking lot.

Roughly two acres of land near St. Armands Circle have drawn the attention of at least four serious development groups interested in buying and developing the city-owned property in the heart of the area's busiest tourist center.

The development groups' offers came after the Sarasota City Commission voted in August to entertain any proposals for the purchase of the 1.98-acre surface parking lot on Fillmore Drive for a 90-day period.

That window ended in mid-November.

The city had already heard a proposal from JWM Management Inc. at a commission meeting in May.

JWM Management's most recent offer proposes building a 98-room hotel, 12,000-square-foot boutique grocery store and 11 townhouses. As with its first proposal in May, the price it would pay for the property would be determined by an appraiser chosen by the city.

"In determining FMV (fair market value), the appraiser shall assume the entitlements are bestowed on the property," the company's most recent offer reads.

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Gregory Thomas Leonard offered $8 million for the property and would build a 60-room hotel, 50,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 200 internal parking spaces. The commercial space would include retail and a grocer.

Ocean Properties put together two proposals to build either a 63-room hotel with a 20-seat bar in the building's lobby or a hotel and a 15,000-square-foot grocer.

The offer was for $8.175 million for the hotel only or $11.775 million to build the hotel and grocery store.

This is a rendering of the proposed hotel footprint in the proposal from Ocean Properties Ltd.
This is a rendering of the proposed hotel footprint in the proposal from Ocean Properties Ltd.

Two developers, Jebco Ventures Inc. and Property Markets Group, offered to build a 47-unit, mixed-use condominium. The project would include 12,500 square feet of commercial space that could "include a high-end retailer and a market such as a Dean and Deluca's, Eli's or Morton's Market."

That group offered $8.5 million.

A rendering by Hoyt Architects of a proposed condominium on St. Armands Circle by Jebco Ventures Inc. and Property Markets Group.
A rendering by Hoyt Architects of a proposed condominium on St. Armands Circle by Jebco Ventures Inc. and Property Markets Group.

However, since the revenue generated by the 268 parking spaces owned by the city on the two-acre property has been pledged to pay down a city bond used to build a nearby parking garage, it complicates what the city could do with the property.

City Attorney Robert Fournier noted in a July memo to the city commissioners that the city has several options to address this issue, including possibly tacking the lost revenue from the 268 parking spots impacted by development of the property onto the purchase price of the surface parking lot.

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Only one of the proposals, JWM Management Inc., would maintain all 268 spots by building a parking structure on the property. That proposal does seek a reduction in its purchase price for building the parking structure.

The city would then get those spaces back until Oct. 1, 2027. After that, the developer would make 160 spaces in the parking garage available to the public, according to the proposal.

A fifth offer also was included in a public records request for the property proposals. Martin Hyde, a city resident who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, technically made an offer for the property, but did not include any details about what he would build there.

It came during a public comment period at a City Commission meeting in August, and appeared to be an attempt push the city to put the property up for a competitive bid process.

A city spokesman said the City Attorney will review the offers and prepare a report to the City Commission for consideration and discussion sometime early next year.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Parking in Sarasota: Four developers offer plans for lot near St. Armands Circle

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