A vacant plot of land on the 4600 block of the blighted North Trail could be the future site of a vibrant, mixed-use development, as the proposal for affordable live/work artist housing pushes ahead.
The specific parcel, at 4644 N. Tamiami Trail, is one of five properties Minneapolis-based non-profit Artspace selected as suitable sites for such a project in its preliminary feasibility report conducted in May. The firm also targeted the Days Inn, Golden Host Motel and Knights Inn — all on the North Trail — as candidates for redevelopment.
“Once there is a stronger sense of the market for a live/work project in Sarasota, the site selection process can begin in earnest,” the report stated. The next step would be a $42,500 arts market survey to determine the demand for such a development.
Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County Executive Director Jim Shirley in a June 20 cover letter attached to the feasibility study said the organization aims to raise $50,000 for the analysis and travel expenses.
The Arts and Cultural Alliance and artist Veronica Morgan are the leading stakeholders who brought Artspace to the region to study the city for two days before formulating a plan for the development of artists’ housing communities in the area. The city of Sarasota, the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the National Endowment for the Arts provided funding for the study, which cost $15,000.
The non-profit developer brings public and private funding together, including the use of such federal programs as the low-income housing tax credits, and local assistance, including the Community Development Block Grant funding, for development. Typical projects with between 50 and 70 units cost roughly $17.5 million, with pre-development costs of less than $750,000 required before construction can begin, according to the report.
Generally, the private sector is required to cover 9% of total project costs through philanthropic gifts.
“The private development community is not on the trail,” said North Trail Redevelopment Partnership Chairman Jay Patel when Artspace began the feasibility study in May. “That’s where we’re looking for Artspace to come in and be transformative.”