Entrepreneur Jesse Biter invests in downtown

 

Entrepreneur Jesse Biter invests in downtown

 

Date: February 21, 2013
by: Roger Drouin | City Editor

 
 

 

 

Entrepreneur Jesse Biter has two parcels under contract — for a total of one acre of prime downtown land just north of Whole Foods Market Centre.

Biter plans to develop what he calls “obtainable housing apartments” on the site, with 180 units ranging from 500 to 1,000 square feet, and starting at under $1,000 a month to rent. The average unit will be about 800 square feet, Biter said.

Biter’s effort to build the development would meet his vision for more affordable residential units in the city’s core.

“The live, work, play vision doesn’t work until a project like this is built,” Biter said.

If the deal goes through, it would be the fourth major downtown property investment in the last two years for Biter.

Because of a city approval in 2007 that granted previous developer Leonard Garner a density bonus allowing up to 168 new residences at 1445 Second St., where the United Way of Sarasota building is currently located, Biter is allowed to build a higher number of residential units.

Under the city’s expired Downtown Residential Overlay District (DROD), the density bonus quadrupled the number of residential units that could be built. At the time, city officials were trying to spur the development of more affordable units downtown.

As long as he secures a building permit by 2015, he can build the additional units, Biter said.

“It’s still viable,” Senior City Planner Harvey Hoglund said about the previous DROD approval.

Biter also has the adjacent property, at 1401 Second St., under contract. Twelve units could be built on that land, as part of the total 180 units.

Early plans for the 10-story apartment project include amenities such as a laundry chute, rooftop restaurant and a share-a-car community rental program for renters who want to trade their car for a bike. Preliminary project plans also include retail space on the first floor.

“At this point, what we are doing is working from the ground up and putting all the components of the project together,” said Steve Horn, a real-estate broker representing Biter.

Horn said he expects that Biter’s architectural team will have conceptual renderings of the project in a few months, and, depending on financing, construction could start as early as fall.

“The bones of the project have been laid out previously, so we have a good starting point,” Horn said.

Horn said Biter, who lives downtown with his wife, believes in investing where he lives.

“He definitely has a vision,” Horn said. “It’s an innovation, entrepreneurial look at what Sarasota can be.”

 


THE PROPERTIES
Jesse Biter has a vision, said real-estate broker Steve Horn. Biter has invested in three properties in downtown Sarasota, and he is eyeing a fourth.

1445 Second St. and 1401 Second St.
Purchase: Under contract
Property size: 1.08 acres
Details: Early plans call for 180 units ranging from 500 to 1,000 square feet and starting at under $1,000 a month in rent. Average unit will be about 800 square feet.

Early plans for the 10-story apartment project include amenities such as a laundry chute, rooftop restaurant and a share-a-car community rental program for renters who want to trade their car for a bike. Preliminary project plans also include retail space on the first floor.

Biter said he will start an online forum to receive input from the community on what else they think should be involved in the project.

“I have always found great ideas by involving others,” Biter said.

Depending on financing options, Biter could break ground as early as fall.

1680 Fruitville Road
Purchase: $2.8 million; May 2011
Property size: .87 acres
Details: Biter was involved in plans to move the HuB, a for-profit business incubator, to its new headquarters at the site of the former Century Bank on Fruitville Road and Goodrich Avenue.


1564 Main St. / 1560 Main St.
Purchase: $4,075,000; December 2012.
Property size: .48 acre; 200 feet fronting Main Street
Details: Biter has secured Tube Dude as a tenant at 1564 Main St. Current plans are to lease the property until the city decides if it will pursue density changes that would allow additional units to be built downtown.

North Palm Avenue
(Space under public parking garage)
Purchase: $1.6 million, December 2011
Property size: 11,000 square feet of commercial space
Details: Biter entered into an agreement with the city of Sarasota to buy the 11,000-square-foot retail space on the ground floor of the Palm Avenue parking garage, in partnership with Seidensticker family. Construction work is under way to complete the shell for a restaurant and banquet hall.

 


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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • We've seen this kind of thing before. People who think they have lots of money come into town, over-extend themselves, then the whole house of cards collapses and we end up with nothing. Hope this is not what is happening this time around.
  •  
  • Deborah Markaverich
    Thu 21st Feb 2013
    at 10:09pm
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