For about six years, Anil Patel has been trying to develop the land he owns in the 14-acre Osprey Waterfront District. Although his previous efforts have run into roadblocks with some community members, his latest attempt has received positive reviews so far.
Perhaps the biggest reason why is the fact that Patel is working with a much larger area this time. He is purchasing the district’s nine acres that he does not own, which he will add to the five that he already owns.
Because all of the contracts have not yet been signed, Patel did not want to reveal the purchase price.
Now that he controls all 14 acres, the features that he and the community want to see in the waterfront district won’t be crammed into a small area.
“There will be better vistas, because the buildings will be spread out across 14 acres,” said Rick Noyes, chairman of the Osprey Revitalization Committee (ORC), which is tasked with recommending a waterfront plan to the Sarasota County Commission.
A four-day charrette wrapped up Aug. 26, which allowed community members the chance to voice their wishes for the property. Among the desired features they described were a hotel, a waterfront restaurant and a mixed-use building, with retail on the ground floor and condos above.
Patel said he was pleased with the input from the community. His architects will use that input to create a preliminary plan, which will be presented at the next ORC meeting Sept. 1.
County Commission Chairman Jon Thaxton attended the charrette and said he was encouraged by the results.
“It’s a completely different way of (gathering community input),” he said.
Thaxton said he liked the suggestions from residents and business owners, such as the mixed-use aspect and the inclusion of waterfront green space.
A number of the suggestions from the public for the waterfront district were for traditional features, such as a hotel and waterfront restaurant. Other suggestions included:
• Wider, landscaped median on U.S. 41 with U-turns
• Slower service road that runs parallel to U.S. 41
• Burns Court-style theater for independent films
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