The Longboat Key Planning & Zoning Board unanimously recommended a 16-unit luxury condominium project for Longboat Key Tuesday. The project will transform an overgrown beachfront property and help usher in an influx of new inventory coming to the island this year.
With approval of the Aria project at 2251 Gulf of Mexico Drive just waiting the Town Commission’s approval, Sarasota developer Jay Tallman, president of Ascentia Group LLC, plans to open reservations for the project this week. The project has a total retail value of $60 million.
“It’s a wonderful project that I’m extremely excited about,” Tallman told P&Z board members Tuesday. “We have a lot of interest in the units already.”
Tallman said his phone began ringing right away after he announced plans for the project in September. It was the second planned condo project for 2014 announced last year. Michael Saunders & Co. announced plans for the 11-unit Infinity condominium project at 4765 Gulf of Mexico Drive in March.
Town staff is also pleased with Tallman’s willingness to preserve a property that has a storied past.
A German immigrant named Dr. Hermann Kohl purchased the property in the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, two years after he was indicted on federal bootlegging charges. After Prohibition ended in late 1933, the charges were dropped, and Kohl built Villa Am Meer in 1935 as a winter retreat.
In 1993, the family of the Kohls’ adopted daughter, Elena Benedict, sold the southern parcel of the property totaling just less than seven acres to the developers of the 38-unit Villa di Lancia.
Tampa-based Statewide Associates purchased the remaining five acres of the property, which included the main residence, guest home and carriage house, for $18 million in 2006. The company planned to build 30 townhomes on it and renovate the original home into a community clubhouse — but then the market declined.
The 5,000-square-foot main residence, which BBC Key LLC now owns, is currently under renovation. It will stay on the property and serve first as a sales office and, later, as the condo’s clubhouse.
The site’s old rusty iron gates, complete with the image of a lion, will be preserved and attached to a future privacy wall that will sit off Gulf of Mexico Drive.
The rest of the site, Tallman says, will be the most modern development the Key has seen since 2007, when Positano was completed.
The units will feature a “coastal contemporary theme,” which Tallman describes as “more modern with a style that uses wood to create warmth in a beachfront setting.”
Units will include garages and extended terrace areas with approximately 4,000 square feet of space to maximize the units’ views. Unique sliding-glass doors will open to the large terraces and modern pools that overlook the Gulf. Three or four penthouses will hold private rooftop terraces, complete with summer kitchens and gardens.
Open floor plans with large state-of-the-art kitchens and technology, which will allow owners to control everything from the air conditioning to entertainment systems, complete the mix.
Tallman, who also developed Vizcaya and en Provence, hopes to begin construction, which is anticipated to last 15 to 17 months, this summer. Units are currently priced between $3.44 million and $4.25 million. Units will range from 3,804 square feet to 3,940 square feet in a new four-story building.
P&Z board members praised a project application that Senior Planner Steve Schield called “a very clean application” and noted that it does not contain any departures from town codes.
“It’s a marvelous project,” said P&Z board member Allen Hixon.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected]