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Sarasota Bayfront Now is the group behind recently leaked plans for a $100 million Mote aquarium, a hotel and a conference center near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.
Sarasota Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 1 year ago

Sarasota Bayfront Now to host public meeting

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by: Observer Staff
 

Another group has publicly joined the conversation about the future of the city's waterfront land, as Sarasota Bayfront Now will outline its plans for property near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center during a cocktail reception at 4 p.m. today at The Francis.

A confidential document connected to the group, leaked last month, advocates for the placement of several amenities — including park land, a performing arts hall, a hotel, a conference center and a $100 million aquarium — on a large swath of public land along the U.S. 41 corridor near 10th Street.

Representatives from organizations involved with Sarasota Bayfront Now — venture capital firm Seven Holdings, Arizona-based company Governmental Facilities Development Services, Core Construction and Hoyt Architects — will be present at the meeting as the group shares its proposal with the public.

Chris Cogan, a co-managing member of Seven Holdings, said he hoped the groups behind Sarasota Bayfront Now would be able to clear up misconceptions that occured after one of its documents was made public. That document, a PowerPoint presentation used as an agenda for a meeting with Mote Marine officials, got into the hands of Vice Mayor Susan Chapman, who expressed concerns about the plan being developed without city or public input.

Cogan said the group intended to push forward with its efforts, and that Sarasota Bayfront Now would look to foster public involvement and support in the coming months.

"We feel like there's been a lot of misrepresentation, unfairly, about our intent and our plans, and we need to set the record straight," Cogan said. "Even though we weren't quite ready to make a public announcement when our plan got circumvented and released into the public domain unbeknownst to us, we are very far down the path. We have a realistic plan that can be funded and that can come to fruition."

Check out these previous stories to learn more about the visioning process for public land along the Sarasota bayfront:

+ VIDEO: City joins bayfront visioning process
Organizations seek guidance for Sarasota bayfront plan
City Commission to revisit Cultural Park plan

For more information on Sarasota Bayfront Now, pick up a copy of next Thursday's Sarasota Observer.

Contact David Conway at dconway@yourobserver.com

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