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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 5 years ago

Single-family homes are slated for vacant land in Laurel Park


The vacant land tucked away in the southeastern corner of Laurel Park had become another property lost to the housing crash.

The previous owner had plans to build 26 homes before defaulting on the property. The current owner, Ontario, Canada,-based YYZ Properties, purchased the land from the bank in 2006 and has been working with city planners on a re-platted project of 19 single-family homes called “Homes of Laurel Park.” The Sarasota Planning Board could vote on the project as early as next month.

Plans submitted by the Canada-based developer are more simplified than the previous development, Devonshire Park, said senior planner Harvey Hoglund. The new Homes of Laurel Park development calls for the addition of a new street, compared to the construction of three new streets that the previous owner had planned.

Kate Lowman, president of the Laurel Park Neighborhood Association, said she thinks the new proposal will blend well with the surrounding neighborhood.

The single-family homes, at the corner of Rawls Avenue and Devonshire Lane, will be built as the single lots are purchased. A major plus, Lowman said, is that one architect will be designing all of the homes, creating an aesthetic continuity throughout the development, even though all the homes are not being built at one time.

“I think this is a good thing,” Lowman said. “It has been sitting vacant for some time.”

Lowman hopes that by building individual homes, the developer will be able to find homeowners who are genuinely attracted to the unique, smaller-scale neighborhood of Laurel Park, just south of the downtown core.

The developer still has to finalize technical details in the plans, such as improvements to Alderman Street and replacing a ditch with a culvert, Hoglund said. And YYZ Properties has agreed to keep trucks and construction equipment off Rawls Avenue so that the historic brick pavers are not damaged during the construction of the homes. It also plans to retain some of the healthy trees on the property. The two-story homes could come with a price tag of $650,000 to $900,000 each.

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