Workers are currently conducting demolition and cleaning inside of Dolphin Tower — and nearby merchants along Palm Avenue are worried they’re being left out of the loop.
Ken Taksen, owner of M.L. Gosling gift gallery and vice president of the Palm Avenue Merchants Association, spoke at this morning’s Downtown Improvement District meeting about the work. Dolphin Tower was evacuated in 2010 due to structural issues, and has been vacant since.
Although Taksen said he is supportive of the building’s renovation, merchants on Palm are worried about the lack of information regarding the project.
“The Palm Avenue merchants are very concerned about the renovations going on at the Dolphin, in part because we are in the dark about what's going on there,” Taksen said.
Taksen said the merchants were bothered by the noise that came from water jets inside the building, which started about two weeks ago without warning. He said people were worried that, if street closures or utility shutdowns were necessary as part of the repairs, merchants would be unaware and unable to voice their concerns to the city.
“We can ill afford another disruption to what should be a great business environment on Palm,” Taksen said.
Eileen Hampshire, DID board member and owner of the Palm Avenue shop Art To Walk On, said she received a letter about 3 days ago asking the merchants to bear with the work being done. She agreed that the noise was a disruption for nearby businesses.
“This was noise that was constant,” Hampshire said. “You almost couldn't hear yourself think.”
DID Operations Manager John Moran said he would reach out to the city to see if it was possible to hold regular meetings to update nearby businesses about the work.
For more information on the work at Dolphin Tower, pick up a copy of this Thursday’s Sarasota Observer.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].