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Pineapple Park
Sarasota Friday, Jan. 29, 2016 3 years ago

­City Commission to decide future of Lemon Avenue parcel

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A developer hopes to purchase city property near the State Street garage, but residents have fought against selling the land, which they believe should be part of Pineapple Park.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

After more than a year of debate, the Sarasota City Commission is poised to finally decide the future of a 5,409-square-foot piece of downtown land Monday evening.

Commercial real estate firm Hembree and Associates is seeking to purchase the city-owned property near Lemon and Pineapple avenues for $260,000. Hembree and Associates, which is developing the property at Lemon and State Street next to the State Street Parking Garage, began negotiations with the city in November 2014.

As city staff worked on the details of a potential agreement, residents began to push back against the sale. Advocates for preserving downtown green space said the property, which is classified as right-of-way, has functionally served as part of adjacent Pineapple Park.

The city will consider two different building configurations as they weigh their decision: one with a 4,310-square-foot footprint, and a smaller 3,560-square-foot option. Either way, any project would come with a two-story height restriction.

Joe Hembree, president of Hembree and Associates, acknowledged the property’s relationship with the park affected the proposed building designs. Still, he said the firm would be happy to move forward with both options.

“There’s not a significant impact either way,” Hembree said. “We’re just trying to sort through the best way to lay out the property so we could accommodate a tenant, and how it would function with the park.”

The full agenda for Monday’s commission meeting can be found on the city’s website.

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