If construction of The Jewel starts in July like developer Tom Mannausa expects, the project will become the first major condo tower to break ground downtown since the real-estate market bust in 2007.
The 17-story luxury condominium tower that will be built at Palm Avenue and Main Street joins The Queue townhouses on Ringling Boulevard and the Homes of Laurel Park, a 26-home project, as the first residential developments constructed since 2007, downtown.
Standing 236 feet tall at one of the city’s busiest intersections, The Jewel will be the most visible of the three projects. It will also be the tallest building downtown.
Fourteen of The Jewel’s 18 units that range from $1.25 million to $4.1 million are under contract, Mannausa said. The tower’s pre-sales are one indicator that the economy is beginning to turn around said downtown Realtor Ian Black.
“We’ve got significant interest in downtown,” Black said.
Thus far, mostly older, retired buyers — some relocating from places such as New Jersey or Colorado — have purchased units.
Mannausa said in the past few months he has had offers from prospective investors.
“In the last two months, I could have sold it three different times in excess of $10 million,” Mannausa said. “But, I want to see this through to completion.”
In December 2010, Mannausa purchased the lot at the corner of Gulfstream Avenue and Main Street for $870,000 from the estate of developer Samuel Hamad, whose Marquee on the Bay residential project planned for the lot fell apart during the downturn in the economy. That lot was the first of three parcels that currently makes up The Jewel site.
Then, in spring 2012, Mannausa purchased the separate properties where the Sports Page Bar & Grille and Living Walls Furniture & Design sit. In total, the developer invested
$3.7 million in the land for the tower.
In mid-April, the developer plans to demolish the two buildings. Sports Page and Living Walls will be relocating.
“They are looking at alternative locations downtown,” Mannausa said.
Mannausa moved in 1980 to the Sarasota area, but he has developed 50 residential and commercial projects from luxury-boat homes on Lake Michigan to an apartment complex in Bradenton. The Jewel will become his “crowning” development, Mannausa said.
The urban, modern design of The Jewel features sweeping glass views with a 30-foot-high lobby. The building will feature LED lighting inside and outside. The project also includes two floors of retail condominiums.
Mannausa, who is in the sales office daily, said he sold three of six of the retail condos for the first two floors.
The third floor of the building will be an amenity deck with a yoga room, 20-meter pool, sauna, putting green and tennis court.
“The amenity deck is one of the reasons why people are purchasing,” Mannausa said.
The units will feature ceilings at least 10 feet, 8 inches high, Italian-made cabinets and decorative concrete walls as an option.
During the past few weeks, the developer has been working with city planners to tweak design plans and make sure the project meets city codes.
“He is moving forward,” said Sarasota Senior Planner Harvey Hoglund.
Recent plan variations include adding more glass to the design and adding oak trees to the front of the building, as requested by city officials requested.
Mannausa calls the architecture modern — but not “spaceship modern.”
“You’ll see these buildings in Dubai that look like a spaceship,” Mannausa said. “This is not that.”
A Tower’s Timeline
December 2010: Mannausa purchased the first of three parcels for The Jewel site.
Spring 2012: Mannausa purchased the two parcels where Sports Page Bar & Grill and Living Walls sit.
Late April 2013: Demolition of both buildings to occur.
Late July 2013: Construction to begin