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Sarasota Thursday, Jul. 23, 2015 6 years ago

Jebco plans North Trail condo project

Fresh off development of the Q town homes on Ringling Boulevard, Jebco Ventures has submitted preliminary plans for more than 150 condominiums on North Tamiami Trail.
by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Jim Bridges hopes to pick up where other investors left off and successfully redevelop more than eight acres on the North Trail. And he's  already begun tackling one the biggest hurdles to new development — the neighbors.

"We’re looking to put a development there thats very compatible with the neighborhood,” Bridges said. “This would actually be down-zoned (from current land-use restrictions).”

Bridges' firm, Jebco Ventures, is scheduled for a pre-application conference with the city of Sarasota's Development Review Committee Aug. 5, to vet preliminary plans for roughly 150 condominiums behind the La Quinta Inn and Suites on the 1800 block of North Tamiami Trail. The land is currently by two firms managed by Kim Githler.

“I’ve done a lot of developments and I’ve been in business in a long time,” Bridges said. “This is probably one of the most exciting that I’ve been involved with.”

The plans are currently split into three phases, the first of which would consist of 76 waterfront condos over parking along Whitaker Bayou and boat slips to service the development. The second phase would bring 80 units online around a central pool area while the developer hopes to work with city staff on a third phase that could include new commercial space along the North Trail.

Preliminary plans show that none of the structures on the site would be taller than 45 feet, which is the maximum height allowable within the North Trail zoning district.

"We know the plans being submitted are very limited but we wanted to begin the discussion and get staff's feedback on as many issues and concerns as possible,” said Jebco representative Joel Freedman in a letter to City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini. “While at the same time see if some flexibility can be built into the approval for the third phase of the project.”

Though past efforts to redevelop the project into a condominium and then a yacht club were met with public disapproval from the Tahiti Beach neighborhood across the bayou, Bridges said he has already met with nearby residents and received a positive response.

Tahiti park Neighborhood Association President Jennifer Ahearn-Koch said North Trail Redevelopment Partnership board member Jay Patel helped bring about that meeting, during which Githler, Bridges and project consultants discussed the preliminary plans.

"We were pleased with the idea of the condos and with their overall plan — which was just an overview," Ahearn-Koch said. "But it still seemed like the concept was well thought through."

She then organized a meeting with neighbors to discuss the plans.

"The neighbors had a number of questions but the conversation was positive and constructive." Ahearn-Koch said

Jebco's project is the latest residential investment proposal for the North Trail, joining a 33-unit apartment complex slated to replace the Monterey Village Motel across from Ringling College of Art and Design. 

On the commercial side, Casto Southeast Realty Services is planning a 2,250-square-foot Starbucks about a three-minute walk south of Jebco's proposed site. Tahiti Park residents are keeping a watchful eye on that development, as well.

Bridges said the condo project would attract a wide range of buyers, and is the largest piece of developable property around the downtown area.

“It has all the pluses,” Bridges said. “I can’t think of any negatives."

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