+ El Adobe site sells for $2 million
On Saturday, a culinary staple of the Sarasota area will close, but its sale reflects a strong local real estate market, according to the developer that bought the property.
Tampa-based Brightwork Real Estate purchased the parcel housing El Adobe for $2 million May 1. The Mexican restaurant will close after operating for 40 years on South Tamiami Trail.
“Hopefully we will have plans for it soon,” said Brightwork Real Estate partner Austin Simmons. The purchase is the company's first acquisition near the intersection of Bee Ridge Road and U.S. 41.
“Sarasota is a very vibrant area, and that spot right there is certainly a strong one,” Simmons said.
The firm is known for buying freestanding buildings and bringing in national brands, such as Starbucks, Bank of America and Wawa, among others.
“I'd love to put a Wawa there,” Simmons said, but the size is too restrictive for the convenience store, which recently announced its first Sarasota location on University Parkway.
+ Tourism officials call emergency meeting
During a rare emergency tourism industry meeting Thursday, Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley rallied opposition to a proposal to change the organization's funding allocation.
During a May 16 budget workshop, Sarasota County commissioners will consider a proposal to put a cap on the growth rate of spending to promote the region as a tourist destination. The plan would allow advertising spending to grow at a specific percentage, with any additional revenues collected above that percentage going toward capital projects.
“Once you erode market share it's really hard to get it back,” Haley said. “Why does Coke keep advertising?”
But, Commissioner Joe Barbetta, who made the proposal, said investing in renovations of current assets, such as the Sarasota Fairgrounds, or the construction of new facilities, such as a downtown aquarium, promotes local tourism in its own way — permanently.
“All I'm saying is that if (tourist taxes) continue to grow rapidly let's use some of that money while the sun's shining to build some assets,” Barbetta said in a phone interview with the Sarasota Observer. “My concern is that you can promote all you want, but if you have a red tide outbreak or a hurricane people are going to go elsewhere.”