The departure of one Siesta Key Village mainstay will bring a newcomer that is already a popular mainland eatery.
Total Tennis moved to a new location on Bee Ridge Road after spending 35 years on Siesta Key, and restaurant Eat Here is expected to take its place at 240 Avenida Madera. This will be the third Eat Here, with current locations in operation in downtown Sarasota and Anna Maria Island. Sarasota County zoning staff is reviewing a building permit application for more than $300,000 of work at the location. Sarasota County zoning staff approved an alternative parking plan for 52 spaces to allow the restaurant to open in the Siesta Key Overlay District, because nearby businesses close before 5 p.m., which is when Eat Here’s hours would begin.
Smith Architects, Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. Director Mark Smith’s company, will oversee the design of the new restaurant, which will be similar to the downtown location. The current plan is for 150 restaurant seats, Smith said.
“It’ll be fun,” Smith said. “They have a formula and it works.”
Smith said Beyond Design, the contractor doing renovations, expects to finish work in time for the restaurant to open in December — just as tourist season begins. Beyond Design also did construction for Sun Garden Café, a restaurant next-door, he said.
Sarasota County Planning and Development Services approved a $13,000 alteration for the new restaurant Sept. 18, which included plans to knock out the partition between the two units on the parcel and remove existing mechanical and electrical fixtures.
The Sarasota County Property Appraiser most recently valued the parcel at $1.26 million and assessed $24,595 for 26 required parking spaces and $21,863 for eight deficit — or “phantom” — spaces. The property was assessed just under $5,000 for Village maintenance in the 2012 fiscal year.
Siesta Key Village Association President Russell Matthes said before an Oct. 2 monthly meeting that it would be helpful for Village merchants to have a document with all of the alternative parking agreements in the district. When a bar or restaurant owner wants to add patron space, they can sign an agreement to share required parking spaces with another owner that may have converse operating hours, or face as much as $2,700 in property taxes for each space deficit.
The amount of patron area, which determines the parking assessments, can’t be calculated until space used for eating and waiting is measured. The county code requires one space for every 50 square feet of that area, and one for every 250 square feet remaining.
“Once they get a certificate of occupancy, then we look at parking requirements,” said Sarasota County Traffic Operations staff member Ryan Montague, who oversees the Siesta Key Public Parking Improvement District. “That could change the assessments.”