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Sarasota Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 6 years ago

Developer proposes four-story hotel in Pinecraft community

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The hotel will serve the Amish and Mennonite community, as well as midwestern- and sports tourists.
by: Jack Short Staff Writer

Dutchman Hospitality, Inc. (DH), of Walnut Creek, Ohio, plans to build a four-story, 100-room hotel near Der Dutchman restaurant in the Pinecraft area behind Der Dutchman restaurant.

Mike Palmer, president of DH, said the hotel will be “boutique-style,” with Amish flair.

It will be more upscale than entry-level hotels but is not meant to compete with luxury hotels in the downtown area, Palmer said.

Palmer was unable to give an estimate of the cost, but offered a $100,000-per-room benchmark as guide. At 100 rooms, that would mean DH may build a $10 million hotel.

DH owns three Carlisle Inns in Ohio. Palmer said he expects the proposed project will be “Carlisle Inn of Sarasota.”

“I think it’s something the family’s wanted to do for a long time,” Palmer said.

DH also owns Der Dutchman restaurant – and the surrounding property on which the hotel will sit – after reacquiring it in 2012. Palmer said DH incurred significant debt during that reacquisition but has since positioned itself to move ahead with the hotel.

During season the hotel will cater to tourists from the midwest.  Off-season DH hopes to catch some of the travelers and teams coming to Sarasota for events such as rowing competitions at Benderson Park.

With 100 rooms, additional parking, and a 600-seat restaurant on site, the group will be able to accommodate families as well as larger groups and motor coaches.

In order to do that, DH will need several zoning changes and exceptions to build a 55-foot high building in a zone that restricts heights to 35 feet, and to move stormwater retention off-site to what are now residential, single-family parcels. 

If those exceptions and rezone requests are granted, DH hopes to begin construction of the 100-room hotel summer, 2016, and complete it in 12 months in order to open a few months before season in 2017, according to Mike Palmer, president of DH.

“We trust (the height) isn’t problematic,” he said. “It is by no means a skyscraper.”

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