The City Commission will consider whether to approve the construction of a two-story gallery at 1400 Main St. at Monday’s commission meeting.
Chris Brown, who purchased the former home of Patrick’s Restaurant and Floribbean in May, said a restaurant will occupy the building. Columns supporting the second level of the proposed gallery would be installed about 9 feet into the pedestrian right-of-way along Main Street and Pineapple Avenue.
According to agenda documents, the commission must decide the gallery provides a public benefit to allow for a major encroachment over the city right-of-way. More than twenty letters and emails have been sent to the city regarding the gallery, all of which were negative, according to a memo from Senior Planner Courtney Mendez.
The city hasn’t shown a particularly positive response, either. The Development Review Committee reviewed the proposal in August, where staff raised many concerns about the level of detail provided in the initial plans. Brown said he wanted to go before the city commission in order to gauge the city’s interest before moving forward, rather than producing a more detailed proposal.
City staff also questioned about whether the design would fit in architecturally with the surrounding property within the downtown historic district.
“Dr. Clifford Smith, Senior Planner, has provided advisory comments stating that the proposed gallery ‘would impact the historic district as the intersection at Five Points is at the central focal point of the district,’ and ‘would not be compatible or in keeping with the architecture found in the district,’” Mendez stated.
The major encroachment agreement, should it be approved by the commission, restricts the use of “nightclub type activities” — including live entertainment — on the gallery deck. Additionally, it allows for no more than 24 seats on the ground level of the gallery and 78 seats on the second level.
Also on the agenda for Monday’s meeting:
• Commissioners will discuss whether to develop a lease agreement for the surface lot at Orange Avenue and Laurel Street. After leasing the lot from Saunders Family Limited Partnership for 18 months, the city allowed for the lease to expire, which caused backlash from Burns Square business owners. The lot would cost the city $1,800 to lease; the city’s employee permit parking program would be extended to this lot to help offset the price.
• Once again, commissioners will consider designs for the State Street garage. Designers from the city’s Urban Design Studio will present five plans for the garage. Various aspects of the proposals include a “pad parcel” commercial building adjacent to the garage; several levels of commercial space above the garage; and a two-story arcade with 40 residential apartments fronting the garage.
• Commissioners will discuss the site placement of a potential homeless facility serving Sarasota. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, who requested the item be placed on the agenda, has expressed an opposition to a shelter being built in north Sarasota. Commissioner Susan Chapman said a shelter serving as a jail diversion program would not be acceptable near the city’s downtown core. Robert Marbut, the homelessness consultant hired by the city and county earlier this year, has not yet recommended a location for any facility.
Contact David Conway at email@example.com.