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.
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