Town Manager David Bullock has held informal discussions with the owner of a Bay Isles property about the possibility of the town purchasing the 2.81-acre vacant property and received approval from the Longboat Key Town Commission at its Dec. 15 workshop to pursue an appraisal of the property.
The property is adjacent to Publix and the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center and is part of a 3.78-acre parcel currently owned by Bay Isles Enclave Acquisition LLC. The Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc. is under contract to purchase the remaining 0.97 acre of the property.
Bullock said that an appraisal would be the starting point for consideration of the purchase.
“The interest is sort of casual at this point,” he said.
The property will require two separate appraisals because it is valued at more than $500,000.
Commissioner Phill Younger told the Longboat Observer that he is currently ambivalent about a possible purchase.
“At this point, I don’t have enough data to form a solid opinion,” he said.
He said that, if purchased, the property could be used for a park or as a connection between Publix and the Tennis Center, but he said that he is interested in residents’ ideas about the property.
Vice Mayor David Brenner said that he was intrigued by the property because of discussions about a “town center” concept for the nearby Publix property.
“Everything has been discussed for that property, from assisted living in the Comprehensive Plan discussions or whether it would make sense to have a theater on the property or a place for associations and non-profits,” Brenner said. “There are a lot of things that are possibilities. I think we could all benefit from having a whole bunch of people think about what would round out the concept of a town center.”
Brenner said that, at worst, the property could add to the town’s open-space land.
Like Younger, Brenner said that he welcomes input on the idea.
“I think this could be a great opportunity to brainstorm about what could be a great addition,” he said.
The property was once considered for a 12-unit luxury condominium project originally known as The Enclave at Bay Isles that was renamed Moda on Longboat Key in 2008.
The 3.78-acre property sold to Bay Isles Development LLC for $3.25 million in January 2006 and was transferred to Bay Isles Enclave Acquisition LLC in April 2008, according to the Sarasota Property Appraiser’s website, sc-pa.com.