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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 6 years ago

Commission approves P.F. Chang's proposals

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

A P.F. Chang’s China Bistro officially is coming to downtown Sarasota.

The Sarasota City Commission Tuesday unanimously approved two applications that had been submitted by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based P.F. Chang’s company and developer Dr. Mark Kauffman.

Construction of the new restaurant could start as early as February, with doors opening to customers by December.

Kauffman worked with restaurant chain officials to submit a three-tiered application, so the eatery can be built as a stand-alone structure at 766 S. Osprey Ave., near Mound Street.

In November 2010, Kauffman’s land-use consultant, Joel Freedman, submitted a proposal to the city to develop the restaurant in place of an office building at the northwest corner of Osprey Avenue and U.S. 41.

The 4,164-square-foot structure on the site is used for executive suites. Kauffman bought a nearby parcel to accommodate more parking spaces for the restaurant.

“This is just fabulous for downtown,” said Mayor Suzanne Atwell Tuesday after the commission vote.
Freedman told the Planning Board last month that P.F. Chang’s had been looking for an appropriate stand-alone site in downtown Sarasota for the last 10 years.

“This is it for them and where they wanted to be,” Freedman said during the December Planning Board meeting. “They don’t just build their restaurants in malls.”

The restaurant won approval in spite of some qualms voiced by Planning Board Chairwoman Susan Chapman and residents who live near the site. Residents said P.F. Chang’s might not fit with the character of the community.

The application took longer than expected for city staff to process, in part, because of the company’s delays in resubmitting requested materials and also because of its discussions with nearby residents and business owners. P.F. Chang’s representatives reportedly wanted to make sure the restaurant would meet the approval of the majority of the neighbors.

The company’s in-house architectural team will design the dining establishment.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. operates two restaurant chains: the full-service P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and the quick-casual Pei Wei Asian Diner.

The company already operates a Pei Wei on University Parkway just west of Interstate 75. The closest full-service P.F. Chang’s China Bistro restaurants are located in Fort Myers and Tampa.

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