Skip to main content
The property at 1440 Boulevard of the Arts has sat vacant for several years.
Sarasota Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 5 years ago

City seeks catalyst project for vacant land


City commissioners on Monday decided to try to seek a public-private partnership on an acre of city-owned, vacant land at 1440 Boulevard of the Arts. Such a development agreement would allow city officials to have more say over what is built on the property than they would if the city sold the land.

After discussing whether they wanted to list the city-owned parcel for sale or invite developers to build a project on the land—with the city retaining ownership of the property—commissioners voted to consider the latter option and try to work with developers. Commissioners will hear from city staff within 30 days about possible ways to start a public-private partnership.

City Manager Tom Barwin said he sees the property as a “catalyst opportunity” for the area.

Barwin toured the Rosemary District on Monday morning, before the City Commission meeting, and said he envisions the city coming up with a proposal for a mixed-use development on the Boulevard of the Arts property.

The property was recently appraised at a value of $565,000.

The Rosemary Community Garden was located on the property, on Boulevard of the Arts between Central Avenue and Lemon Avenue, until the gardens were moved to make way for an affordable housing project. That project was halted by the recession. The property has sat vacant for several years.

Suzanne Atwell said she agrees that the Boulevard of the Arts parcel could be a catalyst project.

“This neck of the woods is ripe for a catalyst,” said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. “It is time.”

In other business, city commissioners:
• Approved the conditional use application and final plat for the Granada Park Subdivision, a 25-home subdivision planned for 3720 Almeria Avenue, one block west of Osprey Avenue.

At this location a 41-unit condominium was approved in 2004 and partially built before the economic downturn. The property owner now proposed to build 25 single-family homes.

In September, the planning board approved the subdivision project by a 4-0 vote.

The final plat was reviewed by an independent surveyor prior to certification by the City Engineer.

• Approved, on the consent agenda, a funding agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation on the design phase of two roundabouts at U.S. 41 and 10th Street, and U.S. 41 and 14th Street.

• Heard an update on vagrancy downtown. Capt. Wade McVay reported to commissioners that the number of arrests of homeless people downtown had decreased to six arrests over the past few weeks.

• Approved a Domestic Partnership Registry on second reading. The city manager’s office will work with the clerk’s office to get ready for those who might want to enroll in the domestic partnership registry.

In July, the commission voted unanimously to draft an ordinance similar to at least a dozen ordinances in Florida cities and counties that afford greater rights to unmarried couples.

The city’s domestic-partner registry allows unmarried couples who live together certain rights, including the ability to make health-care decisions for the partner, funeral decisions, hospital visitations and jail visits. It would not take the gender of couples into consideration.

Related Stories