+ Entrepreneur purchases more downtown land
Entrepreneur Jesse Biter closed June 18 on an .84-acre parcel at 1445 Second St. He purchased the property, which houses the United Way Building, for $2.8 million.
The property, located catty-corner to Whole Foods Market, is the first of two parcels Biter is slated to buy with plans to develop an apartment complex. Biter is scheduled to acquire the Marcia Wood & Co. property at 1401 Second St. in July.
John Harshman, of Harshman and Co., represented the seller and Steve Horn, of Ian Black Real Estate, represented the buyer.
“Jesse’s vision for the city is for people to have the ability to live and work in downtown and not have to buy a $1 million or a $500,000 condo,” Horn says.
He expects demolition of the two buildings to start toward the end of the year and is hopeful that construction could start in the first or second quarter of 2014.
The seller, United Way of Sarasota County Inc., purchased the 39-year-old building in late 2000 for $850,000.
Meanwhile, Biter said local architects are putting together some possible design plans for his proposed 10-story apartment development. Biter wants to build 168 obtainable-housing apartments on the two parcels totaling 1.08 acres.
Early plans for the 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.
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., Biter is allowed to build a higher number of residential units. Twelve units can be built at 1401 Second St.
+ U.S. 301 to get new median landscaping
A project to add landscaping to the median on U.S. 301 from Mound Street to Myrtle Avenue is slated to start in September.
The city will begin seeking bids from contractors later this month, and by Sept. 1, the selected contractor should go to the City Commission for approval, said Neil Gaines, the city’s coordinator of capital projects.
When U.S. 301 was rebuilt, all of the landscaping, except one strip north of Mound Street, in front of Sarasota Ford, was removed from the medians. This project will add in new landscaping and irrigation in the highway’s median.
“It’s a big project,” Gaines said. “It will look great when it is done.”
A previous bid for the landscape project came in over budget, so city officials changed the project design to keep the cost down. “We modified the design to remove specific parts of the project such as certain types of irrigation control or irrigation heads and put generic units in,” Gaines said.
City Commission Meeting Wrapup
During the Monday, June 17, City Commission meeting, commissioners:
• Appointed Robert Lindsay to the Planning Board. Commissioner Susan Chapman, elected to the City Commission in May, vacated that seat last month. Board members serve for three-year terms, and cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.
Mayor Shannon Snyder and commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Suzanne Atwell voted to appoint Lindsay. Lindsay served on the Planning Board for several terms from 1984 to 2009.
• Voted unanimously against an ordinance that would have amended the zoning code to allow cluster housing developments as a permitted use in certain residential zones. City planning staff had recommended commissioners not approve the change.
• Discussed a $225,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the possibility of using the grant to build a homeless facility in collaboration with Sarasota County.
• Approved an agreement between the city of Sarasota and the School Board of Sarasota County to assign three regularly employed police officers to be responsible for three schools: one officer assigned to Booker High School; one officer assigned to Sarasota High School; and one officer assigned to Brookside Middle School.
The next Regular City Commission Meeting is scheduled at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, July 1, City Hall, Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
Meetings & Agendas
• County Commission Budget Workshop — 9 a.m. Friday, June 21, Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd. Think Tank, Sarasota.
• Regular City Commission Meeting — 2:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, July 1, City Hall, Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
• Development Review Committee — 9 a.m., Wednesday, July 3, City Hall, Room 122, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
• County Commission Regular Meeting — 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 9, Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd. Chamber, Sarasota.
• County Commission Regular Meeting — 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd. Chamber, First Floor, Sarasota.
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School of rock
Fans cheered on their favorite bands Saturday at Rock for a Cause.
A budding partnership
Local Kiwanis clubs joined forces to help break ground on a butterfly garden and new information center for Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities.
Walk this way
With less than a month until Election Day, Rhana Bazzini, left, has decided she’s had enough with current campaign financing.