The Argus Foundation Board of Directors recommends that the town of Longboat Key, the Longboat Key Club and Resort and its neighbors work together to resolve the issues that would allow the redevelopment of the Longboat Key Club and Resort to proceed.
Sarasota County is economically dependent on the in-migration of visitors and re-locators. It has been the attractiveness of our area that brought us capital for investment and jobs throughout our history. From the Palmers to Ringling, to the Arvida Corp. and the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota has flourished because we welcome individuals and corporations to invest in our community.
As facilities age and are allowed to deteriorate, we put our community at risk. We invested tax money into the restoration of the Ringling complex on the Sarasota mainland and saw the results of that revival in increased visitors, activities and community pride.
Likewise, we need to allow the private sector to reinvest in the Longboat Key Club to show the world our commitment to maintaining high values. By accepting the status quo and allowing the value of this important property to diminish through lack of reinvestment and upgrade, all citizens of Sarasota County will suffer. For countless years, an incomplete shell of a hotel sat on this same property, offering visitors and residents no benefit at all.
The Longboat Key Club and Resort is the only beachfront resort in Sarasota County offering an elite status to visitors. There is no other resort with onsite beach, golf, tennis, spa and dining in Sarasota County.
Although the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Sarasota’s mainland offers a high-end visitor experience, it is complemented by the Longboat Key Club and Resort for those looking for luxury accommodations in a beachfront setting.
In addition to an updated and expanded Key Club supporting property values, a recent Fishkind & Associates Inc. study concluded that a refurbished Longboat Key Club and Resort will contribute a net fiscal surplus of more $17 million to the town of Longboat Key over a 30-year period.
When our year-round service economy residents are struggling to find employment, this project will add 280 full-time equivalent jobs.
We encourage the town of Longboat Key not to turn back the clock, but to work with the resort owners and its neighbors to make the Longboat Key Club and Resort a show place on the West Coast of Florida.
Kerry Kirschner is executive director of the Argus Foundation. The Argus Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose members are primarily business owners and executives from Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. The foundation facilitates communication, education and cooperation between the public and private sectors. Kirschner can be reached at argusinc.@earthlink.net.
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Daylight Saving Time starts 2 a.m. Sunday, so be sure to set your alarm accordingly.