Was it the beginning of the end for Whitney Beach Plaza or the end of the beginning?
Five years ago, May 27, 2008, The Market closed. Owner Andrew Hlywa, who also owned the plaza at the time, said then:
“The project from hell is finally over. It was too big and in the wrong location.”
He didn’t sell The Market’s remaining inventory. He opted instead, to donate it all to charity.
Hlywa would later open Whitney Beach Deli & Wines in the 12,000-square-foot shop in 2009 before closing it in 2010 and selling the plaza in a commercial short sale.
Since The Market closed five years ago, the majority of the plaza’s tenants have closed or moved elsewhere. Just four tenants remain at the shopping center, which is currently undergoing renovations.
+ Kiwanis Club celebrates 41 years
On May 16, the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key turned 41.
It started as the Kiwanis Club of Sarasota Keys, with 31 charter members meeting at the Holiday Inn on Lido Key. Then, in 1978, it moved to Edith Barr Dunn’s Shenkel’s restaurant on Longboat Key.
A Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key was formed in 1984 and held weekly lunch meetings at Shenkel’s. In 1990, the clubs merged, and in 1999, the club became known as the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key.
One thing that’s never changed about the original club: its 7:30 a.m. Thursday meeting time.
+ Lynches lament loss of Gulf view
Two weeks after the town planted 6-foot-tall buttonwood trees between Lynches Landing and its view of the Gulf, town crews removed the vegetation May 21, 2002.
The attorney representing Lynches argued the trees were the town’s way of punishing the restaurant’s owners, Chris and Ethna Lynch, for their resistance during a sign-code dispute.
Town officials said they needed a barrier between 42 and 45 inches higher than the road to shield nesting turtles from headlights.
But the uprooting of the trees didn’t mean the Lynches had cleared their Gulf-front view. The town still needed a barrier and discussed seagrapes and dunes as an alternative.
The town planted seagrapes along the mid-Key stretch of Gulf of Mexico Drive. It trims them each November, allowing for six months of Gulf views. It lets the seagrapes grow during nesting season.
Lynches Landing is now Lynches Pub & Grub and now operates outside of turtle territory, on St. Armands Circle.