City Hall wants to actively market the vacant land it owns on the north side of the Palm Avenue parking garage.
City commissioners have indicated they would like to see a hotel on that spot.
To attract hotel developers and major hotel chains, the city is beginning to assemble a marketing campaign that it expects to finalize early next year.
A preliminary 50-page prospectus provides numerous demographic figures as well as tourism numbers that the city hopes will attract a hotel company.
The city has already received inquiries from five Southwest Florida developers that want to build a mix of hotel and office spaces. There has been no interest so far from anyone wanting to build a conference center on that site.
The Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board, which is made up of real-estate and economic-development professionals, was asked to provide input on the preliminary plan.
Members’ advice for the city was to hire a marketing professional to come up with the plan.
“I think the city would make a big mistake if it markets (the site) itself,” said Kathy Baylis, CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County.
Said commercial real-estate broker John Harshman: “The city will get a better job done if they work with someone professionally … and will get a better deal.”
City staff may hire an outside firm to help with the plan, which will need to get City Commission approval before it can be used.
Contact Robin Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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