New hotels on Main Street and Fruitville Road could add more than 270 rooms to the eastern edge of the city’s center.
The growth of hotel construction in downtown Sarasota could soon spread east of U.S. 301.
On July 11, the county approved the sale of the property at 20 N. Washington Blvd. to a developer who intends to build a 10-story hotel with up to 140 rooms. And on Friday, Tampa-based HG Management LLC filed plans with the city for a proposed four-story, 131-room hotel project at the northeast corner of Fruitville Road and East Avenue.
The county authorized an agreement to sell a property at the northeast corner of U.S. 301 and Main Street to Versaille St. Germain LLC, the lone bidder after the property hit the market in April. L. Ronald Gray, the company’s owner, said he plans to build a luxury hotel on the .95-acre parcel.
Gray noted the rapid expansion of the downtown hotel market — since 2016, more than 1,000 rooms have been built or are planned — but he thinks there’s space for another project. He believes his hotel, called the Hotel Laurent, will serve a new niche in the area: a five-star product with a smaller footprint.
“I always believed, from the time I first got down there, that there was room for a very high-end boutique hotel that really focused on great servicing and great amenities for people who wanted to stay in Sarasota and be under the radar screen,” Gray said.
An investment banker, Gray first came to Sarasota in 2002 and has lived in the area off-and-on ever since. His fondness for the city made it his desired location to launch what he hopes will be a chain of similar hotel projects.
“I came down to take a look around and fell in love with Sarasota,” Gray said, recalling his first visit to the area. “Who wouldn’t love Sarasota?
The hotel will likely include between 130-140 rooms and feature amenities such as a restaurant, lobby bar and spa. Although the timeline for development is still fluid, Gray is currently targeting a completion date in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Site plans included with the application for the Fruitville Road project identify the proposal as a Marriott Hotel. The application describes the project as a “limited-service hotel” with three meeting rooms totaling 2,739 square feet. In addition to the hotel, the plans include seven small offices totaling just under 5,592 square feet.
HG Management is listed as the contract purchaser for 2.1 acres at Fruitville Road and East Avenue. If the project goes forward, the developer would demolish three single-family homes on the site. Access for the hotel would be located on Third Street.
HG Management declined to comment on the plans for the property, stating it was too early to speak about the possible development of the site.