Benderson Development Co. this week closed on the sale of 42 acres of county-owned land east of I-75, which is slated to jumpstart the Fruitville Initiative.
A 42-acre piece of a major development puzzle east of I-75 may be falling into place, as Benderson Development Co. has closed on the sale of Sarasota County-owned land with the aim to build an industrial park.
Benderson bought the parcel, which is on Coburn Road south of Fruitville Road, for $3 million following negotiations with the county and a proposal from another firm to turn the property into a water park. The prolific developer aims to build a multibuilding light industrial Class A campus totaling between 400,000 and 500,000 square feet of industrial, manufacturing and office space.
The property is located within a larger 420-acre area designated as the Fruitville Initiative, and county commissioners had hoped the sale would spark development within the zone.
The special planning area includes lands owned by five other major property owners and is intended to include coherent street networks, public and civic spaces, multi-modal transportation systems, environmental preservation and ecological features, while creating economic development opportunities for the area.
“It’s taking the whole idea of light industrial and turning it into a beautiful park,” said Larry Fineberg, executive director of industrial office and warehouse for Benderson, in a recent interview with the East County Observer. “From a development standpoint and an attraction standpoint for the county, that’s the type of high-paying jobs we want to attract here and are going to diversify our economy. We still have a lot of work to do.”